A Story of Luck, Love & Community By: Chris Graham
The front cover of this month’s Beat is a picture of Sunday Dennis. Sunday and her family are facing a dire crisis. Many of you already know this. For those of you who don’t know, right around Christmas, Sunday was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer that carries the hideous name of Gleoblastoma. Devastating news for anyone who knows Sunday, and I can’t imagine how that news was taken by her family and loved ones. My heart goes out to them.
But this isn’t only a sad story; it’s a story of luck, love and community as well. How lucky was it that they knew a patient advocate by the name of Stephen Western? And how lucky was it that he knew of a clinical trial designed for people with just this condition? How lucky is it that the physician running the trial is a world-renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. Linda Liau, Vice-Chair of Neurosurgery and Director of the UCLA Brain Tumor Program? And how lucky is it that she welcomed Sunday into her program? Luck? Miracles? Is it collective good vibrations sending out the good stuff for Sunday in her time of need? I don’t know, that’s a question for someone more qualified than I.
What about love and community? Well, that’s the real blessing in this story. I’ve never witnessed anything like it. At the writing of this article, close to $300,000 has been raised to help cover the enormous costs associated with the treatment of this condition. The operation to remove the tumor, (performed at UCLA) cost in excess of $160,000. This amount was raised in five days! You did it! The folks living here in this valley, on Quadra Island, and even people from all over the map who could not possible know this family, pulled together to help save this mother of three children. Truly, it warms the heart.
Now comes the healing. The tumor has been removed and Sunday is out of intensive care and into recovery. She has reached out to everyone who has given their support with messages on a facebook page that was set up to communicate with her community (search: “Love and Bright Light for Sunday Dennis” on Facebook). She sings us songs and tells us she feels our love and care, she heals us by singing to us. Jason, her amazing husband lets us know what is happening and, if you’re like me, you hang on to every word.
So, what’s next for Sunday and her family? As you can imagine there is a long road to recovery for them. As Sunday calls it: her “golden recovery”. Medical expenses have bankrupted more families in the U.S. than any other factor. It’s not just the cost of the procedure, it’s also everything that comes after. The recovery. There will be multiple trips to the doctors to monitor Sunday’s progress. There is the uprooting of the family and the loss of income from their business (Sock Soirée in Courtenay is for sale). There will be medications and therapies. The children will need to continue to go to school, be fed and clothed. The costs will go on and we can help. The news is that there will be a website (tentatively, sundaydennis.com) where you can buy a CD of her beautiful music. I’ve appended where we can send money and other methods of assisting this lovely family. Please help.
I love this community and I’m proud of the way the valley, Quadra island and places beyond have come together to get behind Sunday and her family.
- YouCaring.com Search: Hope for Sunday Dennis
- Coastal Community Credit Union, any branch. Account: In Trust for Sunday Dennis
- E-transfer – firstname.lastname@example.org – deposits go to trust account
- www.sundaydennis.com (Coming soon) Monthly donor program & products like Sunday’s CD, BLOOM.