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GoFundMe campaign for local resident exceeding expectations

A GoFundMe, launched for Canmore resident Michelle Fuller, has exceeded expectations as donations come in to help her during her cancer fight.
michelle-fuller
Michelle Fuller is currently battling her sixth cancer, as a GoFundMe campaign raises money to help her and her husband financially - GoFundMe campaign photo

CANMORE – For those who know Canmore resident Michelle Fuller, they describe her as humble and happy and a person who will prove someone wrong when told she can't do something.

Over the past 21 years, she has fought several cancer battles, raised upwards of $60,000 for the Terry Fox Foundation, of which she is a spokesperson, hiked up Mount Terry Fox and even had a biography written about her.

In 1999, Fuller was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, which after years of treatment, resulted in major surgery to remove her right eye, her cheekbone and part of the roof of her mouth. For the next 12 years, she was cancer-free until cancer spread to her lungs and brain, resulting in the removal of part of her lung. In 2013, she went through five months of chemotherapy. In 2019, cancer returned to her right middle lobe in her lung, which was partially removed.

Through her own cancer journey, Fuller was inspired to raise money for cancer research by Terry Fox, whom she met when she was 11 years old during the Marathon of Hope in May 1980.

“I was chosen to present him with the money we raised, shake his hand and thank him,” Fuller, who grew up on Prince Edward Island, said in an interview with the Rocky Mountain Outlook in 2020. “I remember going to the end of our street and watching him as he was running on the island. It was very special.”

That’s why, after her sixth cancer diagnosis on Feb. 7, 2022, those she had helped inspire decided to do what they could to help her.

“We just realized we needed to help,” said Esther Davies, whom Fuller calls her ‘Alberta Mom’. “She is very positive and always thinking that good things will happen, and they will be able to deal with this cancer.”

To help, Esther and her husband Ron sent out an e-mail to 60 people three weeks ago, asking for donations to a GoFundMe campaign. The initial expectation was between $12,000 and $15,000 but it soon blew past that. As of April 13, it has pushed past $30,700 towards its $40,000 goal.

“It has just mushroomed from there. We are somewhat astounded. I thought if we could raise between $12,000 and $15,000, we would be well ahead of the game,” Ron said. “We are already ahead of where I hoped it would be.”

The new cancer will require a PET scan to see if the Ewing’s Sarcoma has spread elsewhere in Fuller’s body. If it is clear, she will still need to have the entire middle right lung removed, as well as tumours in the upper and lower right lung lobes. Fuller’s husband Henri will also miss work to care for her at home, and they must travel back and forth to Edmonton for dental exams every three months.

The support for the GoFundMe campaign has been high. A scan of the 134 donors includes donations of $1,000 by several people, as well as other donations of $200 to $500.

“There are people there that I have no idea who they are that have donated,” Ron said.

The money raised will help Michelle and Henri financially deal with the costs of fighting the cancer and the trips to Calgary and Edmonton.

“I thought if we put it somewhere between $12,000 and $15,000, that would give Henri and Michelle at least a year to a year-and-a-half of financial clarity,” Ron said. “The way it stands now, it will probably be at least three years.”

“This is allowing her to get ahead a little bit. To take some of the strain off,” Esther added.

If you would like to donate to the Help Michelle Continue Her Journey GoFundMe campaign, visit https://gofund.me/782427dd.