Volunteers sort through $4

Nearly $5,000 raised for family in hardship

A local family is a lot better off, thanks to last Saturday’s bottle drive, which raised nearly $5,000.

A local family is a lot better off, thanks to last Saturday’s bottle drive, which raised nearly $5,000.

Local mother Brenda Montgomery is thrilled with the results.

“Oh my goodness,” she said, when told how much the community effort managed to raise.

“What do you say? Overwhelmed would be a good description. I’m touched.”

Montgomery was diagnosed with multiple myeloma – a cancer of the blood – last winter.

In response, volunteers from Palsson Elementary School (which her daughter Hannah attends), the school’s Parent Advisory Council, and the Kaatza Child Care Society (where Montgomery worked in the infant and toddler room when she was able to) banded together to help out.

Through a hot dog sale, private donations, and the Saturday, June 18 bottle drive, about $4,800 was raised; $4,200 of which from the return on bottles collected.

“It was an almost tearful day,” one of the event’s organizers, Palsson Elementary School teacher Carolyn Graham, said.

“It was a really special, rewarding, and productive day… I am so proud to be a part of the community… There’s so much goodness in mankind.”

Volunteers young and old gathered at Saywell Park throughout the day, organizing and collecting bottles. Montgomery and her daughter also showed up at one point to give volunteers cookies they’d baked.

The local Kinsmen Club and Lions Club have also made plans to help the family out in some capacity in the near future, Graham said.

Montgomery said that the first thing the money will be used to help pay for is housing in the lower mainland, next month.

She’s going in for bone marrow transplants next month, and must be away from home for between four and six weeks.

She’ll be staying at Cancer House with her daughter for half that time, before other arrangements are made available.

With reductions to her disability benefits, left-over funds will be used to help pay for costly medications associated with her treatment.

“I really appreciate everyone’s help, and Hannah and I are both touched,” she said.

“I’m very lucky I have so many good friends.”

For those who missed the bottle drive, an account has been created at the Island Savings Credit  Union.

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