Supporting the Falvais

"When the person who has always been there for us, needs us to be there for them"

The Falvais are a well-loved family in their hometown of Qualicum Beach, and today they need our support as their incredible mama begins her extensive battle with cancer.

Earlier this year Joanne began having headaches that became increasingly frequent and intense, prompting an MRI on October 5th that revealed lesions and swelling in her brain. The swelling was causing a “Chiari Malformation”, a condition in which the cerebellum of the brain pushes into the spinal column.

On November 4th, she was sent for an emergency posterior fossa decompression surgery to make room in her skull for her swelling brain, and a biopsy was also performed on the affected area. On November 20th, the Falvai family received devastating news - the pathology test showed that Joanne had brain cancer.

The cancer is called Medulloblastoma, a form of cancer most commonly found in children and very rare in adults. In children, this type of cancer is easier to treat, usually involving removal of as much of the tumour as possible. In Jo's case, the tumour is inoperable, making it very difficult to treat.

With a strong team of experienced doctors behind her, Joanne will begin her battle starting with radiation for 6 weeks, 5 days a week, on December 29th at the BC Cancer Clinic in Victoria, BC. This will be followed by a long cycle of chemotherapy that will last approximately six months.

Joanne has been there for so many of us - as a mentor, as a teacher, as a colleague, as a supporter and source of strength, and always, as a friend. Her compassion, strength, dedication, generosity, amazing spirit, intelligence, selflessness, and unwavering love is cherished by so many in her community. Her intense love and admiration for her four children, her husband, and of course for Five, their family dog, can be seen from a mile away.

Jo has had an impressive career thus far, working as a Professor of Criminology at VIU since 2001. She is also the proud Director of the Inside Out program at VIU, which offers prison-based post-secondary academic courses to both university students and incarcerated students.

The money raised by this fund will go towards helping the Falvai family cover the costs of accommodations in Victoria while Jo receives treatment away from their home for the upcoming six weeks. It will also be used to help support them in the long road thereafter.

Mark and Joanne want everyone to know that they are immensely grateful for all the love and generosity that their friends and family have been pouring into their home already. Please send as much love, light and positive vibes their way as you can. This family needs all the support they can get.



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  • Rebekah Unterschute  
    • $100 
    • 10 hrs
  • David Lobay 
    • $100 
    • 1 d
  • Corrine Proctor 
    • $100 
    • 2 d
  • A Robertson 
    • $100 
    • 5 d
  • Jodi Streelasky 
    • $100 
    • 6 d
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Shawna Allen 
Qualicum Beach, BC
Mark Falvai 
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