Valerie's Chemotherapy

My mother raised my sister and I pretty much on her own. She started out working for the Food and Allied Workers Union in South Africa and was National Bargaining and Research Director, representing workers in the food processing industry. When I was older, she told me that when she first had to negotiate for workers who were employed in the peanut industry, she first became aware of the insurmountable distance between the rich and poor in South Africa and the particular struggle of women. Peanuts were picked from early morning until late in the day by women who walked two hours to get to the farm -- most of them in old clothing and shoes with no laces and with only minimal food to eat during the course of the day, which saw temperatures rising to over 100 degrees under the hot sun. These same women went home every night to their families, their children and their household duties, only to be roused before 4am to do it again the next day, despite whether they felt sick or tired. Because of this, my mother never bought herself expensive clothing or cars or material things. She worked in a township in Gugeletu in the Western Cape, driving an old and beaten up VW Passat. Despite the long distances she had to travel, she always put my sister and I first, taking us with her on many of these trips, so we, too, learned how difficult if was for most South Africans. She instilled in us the same principles that she lived by – to never forget those who were less well-off and not able to enjoy the same opportunities as we were. Because of her work in the townships and poor rural areas of South Africa, she also saw the plight of the many animals that didn’t have enough food or a home or person to care for them. My mother was thus also committed to raising the welfare of animals, who suffered because of the destitute living conditions of pet owners, and the lack of available resources to pay for sterilization. Instead of using money for herself, she contributed monthly donations to three different animal welfare organizations over the last 17 years. My mother dedicated her life to standing up for the under-represented, the destitute and the young who dreamed of a better future. She went on to work for the International Labour Organization as a Chief Technical Advisor on a project to help young people become employable and to start their businesses with innovative forms of financing. She mentored and coached many of these young people to help them find markets for their products or to simply just make contact with people who could get them to the next level. Many of these young people are today running their own businesses and giving back to the next generation. Sadly, when leaving the ILO and moving to a private medical provider, the insurance company denied her coverage of her medical costs when it was discovered she had colon cancer. The costly surgeries to remove tumours and undergo treatment have left our family with little in the way of finance to survive. While I have just finished college and started working, my sister has just had a baby, which is now three months old. She is unable to find work and is entirely dependent on my mother. I am doing my utmost to help my mother through this difficult period, but we need your

help to pay for the next stage of her recovery through chemotherapy. At this time, I want to implore people to please help my mother get through this difficult cancer process so we can raise the funds she needs for her chemotherapy. Even as I write this, I know she is not just sitting and feeling sorry for herself, but she’s continuing to work on her projects so that these can continue to make a difference in people’s lives and she can try to continue to do research to earn an income, however small, to help pay for her medical costs.

 I know many of you who read this may not be able to donate any money at all. So all I am asking of you is to share this so that this can get around to people who can. I often think of a bible verse that reminds me of my mother and helps me get through tough times, it comes out of the book of Isaiah, it goes, “And I heard the voice of the Lord asking, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ I said, “Here I am. Send me.”

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  • Patrick Schofield 
    • $80 
    • 26 mos
  • Jake Davis  
    • $50 
    • 26 mos
  • Eva & Michael Herhusky 
    • $200 
    • 26 mos
  • David Bassett 
    • $125 
    • 26 mos
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    • $50 
    • 26 mos
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Justin Charles Flanagan 
Hayesville, NC
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