Neighbours of a young mom battling cancer, while caring for her newborn and toddler, are asking the community for help.
Mike and Lana Hamilton created a Go Fund Me account for Turner Valley couple Ryan and Nicole Corbett and hope to raise $20,000 to help the couple pay their bills while Nicole undergoes chemotherapy treatment.
Nicole was diagnosed with breast cancer in April. Ten days later, she learned she was pregnant with her second child.
“The idea behind this is it gives them three or four months of not having to worry about paying the bills so they can focus on this brand new baby and get through the treatments and healing,” said Lana.
“I would love to give them some peace of mind so they are able to go to sleep at night and that is a gift in itself.”
After Nicole’s diagnosis, she underwent a double mastectomy and, at the advice of doctors, completed her first round of chemotherapy while carrying her baby.
A month after Myles was born strong and healthy on Oct. 27, Nicole began more chemotherapy treatment and has 10 more treatments to go.
The diagnosis came at an already tough time for the Corbett family.
Ryan said he’d been making good money as a welder, enough to support his family, until the job “dried up” in the spring and there wasn’t much work anymore.
“She was going to go back to work this fall but then she found out she had cancer in April,” he said. “Ten days later she found out she was pregnant. You are happy, but sad and worried and scared.
“There is nothing you can do. That’s the hand you’ve been dealt.”
Ryan took some time off of work to be at Nicole’s side as much as possible.
With Myles being born small, he is on a strict three-hour feeding schedule.
“It’s one thing after another,” Ryan said. “It doesn’t stop. It’s hard here. I’m making a lot less money than I was. The bills are creeping up fast for sure.”
Ryan had lost his mom to a heart attack in 2010 and his father to cancer in 2011. Nicole’s parents live in Ontario so getting help from family has been a challenge.
Nicole’s sister in Calgary has helped look after Myles and two-year-old Luc, and the Corbetts have had visits from Nicole’s parents and aunt and uncle.
“(Nicole) is doing well,” Ryan said. “She’s a rock in the family, that’s for sure, considering everything she’s gone through.”
When Ryan learned his neighbours began a Go Fund Me page, he said it was unexpected and appreciated.
“They’ve been good neighbours,” he said. “We didn’t know where to turn and they took the reins for us in a difficult situation. It’s been awesome. Hopefully some day we can pay it forward.”
Lana said she couldn’t help but feel a kinship with Nicole due to her own diagnosis of breast cancer.
“I got it a year before she was diagnosed,” she said. “I know what it’s like to go through what she’s going through. She needs to focus on her health and not on paying the mortgage and things like that.”
When Lana underwent treatment, she had support from nearby family members and the community.
“Every day someone brought supper to my house, I had girlfriends shuttling my kids to where they needed to be, my hockey association got me a house cleaner, I had amazing support,” she said.
Unlike the Corbetts, Lana didn’t have a young baby to take care of and she didn’t have to worry about finances.
“Cancer is so overwhelming in itself emotionally and physically,” she said. “I don’t know how she is doing it. I thought this is the one thing I can help her with.”
Lana realized just how hard it hit the Corbetts when she saw Nicole on her way to the hockey rink the first weekend in December.
“I asked how she was doing,” she said. “She couldn’t get the words out. We had a cry and hugged. I decided that we really needed to help her.”
Lana said she knows she can count on the community to help the Corbetts.
“I know this community can do amazing things – they were amazing to me when I was sick and they really helped the Perdues,” she said, referring to former Turner Valley RCMP Const. Jeremy Perdue who died from complications associated with acute myeloid leukemia last year.
“This community rallies when people need them.”
To help support the Corbett family, go to https://www.gofundme.com/help-nicole-fight-breast-cancer