Wow! What a night the Shine On Benefit Concert was! The atmosphere was unbelievable. The love, support and positive energy in the room was so uplifting and energizing. The Owl Bar at the University of Regina proved to be a phenomenal venue that was filled with so many good friends and family members from near and far. The musical talents of Jason Plumb and the Willing, The Minnow, and Method to Madness made for an excellent night of song and dance. Unfortunately, The night went by way too fast for us as both Chantelle and I found ourselves wishing we could have chatted with more people then we did, but unfortunately didn't as the night wound down.
This night was one that had its roots back in January after Chantelle and I had our first appointments with the doctors in Houston. Chantelle had sent a text to her "Village" of friends to let them know that although the road we had in front of us was going to be difficult, it was one that at least offered a chance at recovery. It was during this conversation that the subject of treatment costs came up. Needless to say, within the half hour the texts were flying, and the idea of this night, and a fundraising website were born.
The amount of work, effort, and time that was put into making this night a success was mind boggling. We are so grateful and fortunate to the core group who gave up countless evenings and hours with their own families to help our family. There are not words that will ever be able to express how thankful we are for their commitment. The support that also came from so many other friends, and local businesses to help out with the evening via sponsoring, an unbelievable amount of silent auction items, and time was very humbling.
The phenomenal support of our family, and our friends during this battle began well before that night however, when Chantelle was initially diagnosed on September 17th. We have been continually overwhelmed by the unbelievable support and kindness of those not only close to us, but those whom we've become closer to throughout this journey. Whether it be the meal calendar, a random note, a thoughtful gift, or a warm hug. The incredible inner strength and will that Chantelle has exhibited throughout this battle has been fuelled in part by the strength those around us have given to us. Since Chantelle's battle became much more public, we have also been shocked, overwhelmed and truly dumbfounded by the generosity of our community, and many, many anonymous donors who have helped cover the costs associated with seeking treatment outside of Canada.
Despite more than 10 chemotherapy treatments with several different drug combinations this rare and aggressive cancer continues to attempt to beat us. As a result as we move forward the chemotherapy drugs utilized for the past 4 treatments in Houston have been subsequently changed, and a new chemotherapy regiment, as well as other alternative therapies are currently being utilized and explored. Although the 4 chemotherapy treatments most definitely did slow the progression of the cancer, unfortunately it did not stop, or shrink the tumor. While this was an obvious setback, we continue to fight. We continue to know that Chantelle can and will win this battle and we continue to explore alternative options to augment the therapies being currently undertaken.
We are so grateful to all who have helped us in so many different ways along this road. The Shine On Benefit Concert was an unbelievably energizing event for both us. Thank you to all who attended, supported and all who made this event possible.
Chantelle is an incredibly strong woman. Her strength and grace on a daily basis continues to inspire not only myself, but obviously those near and far. Every day we are thankful for the continued kind words, thoughts, strength, and prayers of those close to us and from those who we've yet to meet.
Chantelle has always inspired and made me want to be a better man, so it really isn't a surprise that she has inspired so many others. The unfortunate aspect in her inspiring others however is that it is the result of her grace and strength in battling a terrible disease. Presently Chantelle has endured 2 chemo treatments at MD Anderson, with a third scheduled within the next week.
The decision to make this very personal battle more public than it already was via formal fundraising to assist in paying for these treatments was something that we struggled with and discussed at length with those close to us, and those whom we held in high regard. Their input and the realization that costs would quickly mount, brought us to the point where we are at today. As a result the stresses of paying for these costly treatments has been for the most part alleviated in the short to medium term.
We are more grateful and thankful for all of your support then you'll ever know. This support has come primarily in the form of donations to the trust to assist in covering medical treatments.
The support has also come in the form of covering all travel and accommodations for our family of 5 to travel to San Diego to create some phenomenal memories for us, and our 3 children at Disneyland, and Sea World. Knowing that we couldn't and wouldn't feel comfortable taking time away while others were sacrificing and doing so much for us in so many ways, a couple of individuals came forth with this offer knowing that this respite, in the face of what will be a long battle, would help provide an opportunity to have fun again as a family. We are eternally grateful for this.
The memories created on this trip will live with us, and our children forever, and we are so incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to "get away" from this disease which has worked it's way into many facets of our, and undoubtedly, many of your lives as well.
Given the unbelievable generosity of those near and far the trust has more funds then we ever would have dreamed to assist us in fighting this disease. The battle which Chantelle is waging is one that will be long and costly. However, if at the end of this battle, when Chantelle has ultimately beat this disease, we both feel very, very strongly that if there are any funds available in the trust they will be donated to someone in a similar situation, so that they too can feel in some small way, the unbelievable generosity that we have felt from those whom we are close to, those who have wished to remain anonymous, and from those who we don't know but who felt compelled to help our family.
The words thank you will never adequately express how grateful we are for all of the support.
Where to begin? Overwhelmed, is probably the best word to describe the way that we are feeling, especially since the fundraising began. We have been completely blown away by the support we've received both spiritually and monetarily in the last 6 days. Obviously our friends, close contacts and family have been unbelievably supportive since the initial diagnosis in September. But to have experienced the support from our broader group of friends and the community as a whole has been way beyond any sort of wildest dream. There has also been an AMAZING level of support and strength derived from anonymous donors, and complete strangers. A thank you on a website will never suffice, but do know that we will be eternally grateful for your words of encouragement and your unbelievable generosity.
Chantelle is currently scheduled to receive chemo therapy every 3 weeks at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas, where they are able to administer therapy which has been successful for other inflammatory breast cancer cases similar in stage to hers. Provided that the cancer is responding favorably to the treatments, this is the scheduled course of action for the foreseeable future until such time that surgery and radiation therapy again become viable options. With each chemo therapy treatment costing in excess of $28,000, excluding travel and accommodations, costs add up quickly and as such we wanted to acknowledge the extremely generous offer that Greystone Managed Investments has come forward with.
GREYSTONE WILL MATCH ALL DONATIONS UP TO $200,000!
This includes all donations collected to date and future donations as well. So obviously, a HUGE thank you to Greystone for the truly unbelievable support, but thank you as well to EVERYONE who has helped us on this journey so far whether through words of encouragement, in spirit, in prayer, or through financial support.
Thank you, thank you, and thank you! When I started this site I thought it would be wonderful to help raise a few thousand dollars, maybe even $10,000! But to reach this milestone is amazing. Simply amazing. I've cried and smiled and wondered at the beauty and kindness that I've seen over the last few days.
Chantelle, Blair and their children are greatful. As am I. Thank you.
Greystone Managed Investments will be matching your donations up to $200,000.00. That means every dollar you donate, actually equals two!
There is also a benefit concert being held at the Lazy Owl at the U of R on April 27. For tickets, please visit Ticket Edge.
Our dear friend, Chantelle Desmarais, was recently diagnosed with a rare and aggressive type of cancer called "‹Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Please help us alleviate the financial burden of medical expenses as well as daily living expenses.
and Blair have elected to obtain treatment from a clinic in Houston,
Texas that specializes in Inflammatory Breast Cancer. She had already
begun chemotherapy treatments at home in Canada but they weren't working
and the cancer began to spread. The treatment she needs to save her life is not available in Canada.
As a result, they will be forced to pay for her treatments out of their own pockets.
The cost of one single chemotherapy treatment is jaw dropping. Whether you
give $10 or $1000, or simply choose to pass this fundraiser along to
someone else, know that the Ledingham/Desmarais family will be forever
grateful for your generous contributions.
Every little bit will help tremendously.
(All donations will be made to an account held in trust for Chantelle Desmarais and Blair Ledingham.)