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General · 13th January 2015
Courier-Islander-Sian Thomson
(Thanks to the Courier-Islander for this article.)
With almost $170,000 raised in less than one week, Sunday Dennis is recovering from her brain surgery performed in Los Angeles Monday.
Diagnosed on New Year’s Eve with an aggressive form of brain cancer known as Gleoblastoma, the Quadra Islander, now living in Courtenay with her husband and three children, required immediate medical attention and surgery.
The surgery was initially scheduled for Tuesday but Sunday took a turn for the worse over the weekend and began ‘fading’.
“We rushed Sunday to the ER and upon arrival she was promptly admitted into ICU,” said her husband Jason McMahon. “She was barely conscious, hardly responding and couldn’t open her eyes or move her left arm. It’s crazy how fast tables can turn and quickly spiral into a downward motion. Needless to say this was the scariest moment of my life. I truly thought she was going to die.”
After six hours of surgery, Sunday was awake, eating and smiling.
“She is a princess warrior, beautiful and strong, and we want to thank everyone for all your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes and for keeping Sunday in your thoughts and hearts through today’s surgery,” said McMahon. “Although I am not affiliated with any one religion, I do believe in the power of prayer, a collective intention. I know miracles happen, so please keep the prayers coming, the positive thoughts and love. It really does help us get through times like these. Thank you all again. I’ll say it over and over till I’m blue in the face. I am so thankful for you all, for what you are sharing, for knowing that you are there for us. Celebrate your day, enjoy being with your loved ones and hug each other.”
McMahon explained that there are very limited resources in Canada for treating such tumours.
“We were presented with an incredible opportunity to have treatment in the United States and be part of a funded cancer treatment trial at University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) that offers her the best hope for a positive outcome,” he wrote on their “UCaring.Com” fundraising site.
However, in order to access this free trial opportunity, Sunday had to have her surgery there, and the costs were significant.
The family needed to raise funds to help pay for the cost of surgery which alone was a $160,000 fee for the anesthesiologist, pre and post operative care and hospital fees.
Fundraising events started immediately in the Comox Valley and on Quadra Island and the family reached out to their support network of friends, and fellow business owners, musicians, mountain bikers, and the broader community for support.
Their ultimate fundraising goal is $300,000. ($200,000 pays for the surgery and tests leading up to it, and the other $100,000 will pay for living costs to stay there and maintain the family here.)
The family is active in both the Quadra Island and Courtenay communities. Sunday is from the close knit community of Quadra Island, but currently lives in Courtenay where she and Jason own a business, The Sock Soiree. They volunteer in both communities and Sunday is also a talented singer and songwriter.
The family still has a way to go to reach their $300,000 goal. For more information on fundraisers and for updates on Sunday’s recovery, go to “Love and Bright Light for Sunday Dennis” on Facebook, or “Hope for Sunday Dennis”.