Benefit raises estimated $23,000 for P.E.I. family battling cancer

Mitch MacDonald
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The Welsh Family Warriors held a fundraising concert Friday for the Welsh family of Warren Grove that is coping with two children and their father all diagnosed with the same rare cancer. On hand, with a silent auction prize from Westjet, are from left, Heather Gates, her sister Susan Welsh, and Kim MacPhail.

Islanders showed their generosity Friday night when a large crowd came together to support a Warren Grove family battling cancer.

A benefit held at Murphy’s Community Centre raised an estimated $23,000 for the Welsh family, which has three of four members diagnosed with a rare form of genetic cancer.

Father Fabian, 21-year-old son Matthew and 16-year-old daughter Jennifer have all been diagnosed with multiple endocrine neoplasia Type 2, and have been undergoing treatment that has included extensive surgeries, external radiation and drug therapies.

With the length of required treatment for each family member still unknown, funds raised from the benefit will go towards helping the family with travel and drug costs.

Kim MacPhail, one of the organizers and a niece to the family’s mother Susan, said the evening saw a huge turnout with many showing up before the event even started.

“It was unbelievable,” said MacPhail, who is also Jennifer’s godmother. “The family was really blown away by how many people were there and the support they were shown.”

All four members of the family were at the benefit, with Matthew receiving a pass from the QEH to attend.

“He really wanted to go and he seemed to enjoy himself,” said MacPhail. “Being there was good for all of them, to see how many people care about them.”

The evening saw a packed crowd bid on items in a silent and live auction. Live music was provided by The Wannabeez and MacBeth.

Susan, the only member of the family that hasn’t been diagnosed with the disease, described both the night and support shown to her family as amazing.

“I’m at a loss for words at what it was…. My husband and I were just sitting here and saying ‘it was the best party we’ve ever been to’,” she said. “It was just phenomenal, I’m at a loss for words at how everything turned out and the hard work everyone put into it… it was amazing.”

While there were too many names to thank, Susan said she was surprised to see how far the support spread.

The benefit was mentioned in the provincial legislature on Friday, with individuals from across the province, as well as from as far as Halifax and the Magdalen Islands, making up the crowd at the event.

“You don’t realize how many people care about you there was some people I didn’t even know there last night,” said Susan. “I’m still blown away by it.”

Those looking to still make a donation can do so by visiting www.welshfamilybenefit.com. A trust account has also been established for the family at TD Bank at 695 University Avenue in Charlottetown.

More information can be found by emailing welshbenefit@gmail.com

 

Organizations: The Wannabeez, TD Bank

Geographic location: Warren Grove, Halifax, Magdalen Islands Charlottetown

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