Nicolas Bloomer’s family is raising money for the Kids Cancer Care Foundation this weekend with a bottle drive at Bower Place mall. (Photo courtesy of Jamelle Bloomer)

Kids Cancer Care bottle drive holds special place for central Alberta family

Bottle drive is Saturday, May 2, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Bower Mall

At just 16 months old, Nicolas Bloomer was diagnosed with leukemia.

Now he’s three and a half years old, and while the cancer is in remission, his family hasn’t stopped fighting.

Nicolas still has to deal with many issues as a result of that battle, including monthly trips to the hospital and a never-ending fight with graft-versus-host-disease, a chronic condition of the lungs, where the cells that are transplanted fight his body too hard.

During the family’s time in Calgary, as Nicolas was trying to stave off the cancer, his mother Jamelle came across Kids Cancer Care and it left a lasting impression.

The foundation, which aims to help Alberta children and families at each stage of their cancer journey, was an invaluable resource for the Bloomer family.

Kids Cancer Care provided meals every Wednesday, educational support, filled the freezer so the family had food when they arrived home, and is one of the few charities in the province dedicated to pediatric cancer.

Now, with some time on her hands because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jamelle is giving back.

After hearing about a Kids Cancer Care bottle drive in Calgary, Jamelle wanted to do her part.

This weekend, by the Toys ‘R’ Us at Bower Place mall, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., she’ll host her own bottle drive.

Cars can drive up, drop the bag of bottles and cans out the window of their car, or pop the trunk and somebody will collect them. She’s enlisted the help of her daughter Jorie, while her husband stays at home with Nicolas.

Originally, her plan was to raise $1,000, but after going on pickup trips throughout Red Deer, Lacombe and Sylvan Lake for the past week, she has already made close to half her goal. There is also a donor that will match donations up to $10,000.

“I just thought it would be nice if I could help out in my area,” she said.

“There’s lots of kids and families I’ve met at the hospital, that do come from central Alberta or Edmonton, just because Calgary is the only hospital (that) does bone marrow transplant on kids. It’s more provincewide, even though it’s based in Calgary.”

Initially, she was a bit worried how she would cash in all the bottles and cans after the event on Saturday, but Cosmos Bottle Depot has offered use of their trailer, so she intends to fill it as full as she can.

She hopes to maybe even rival a drive they did in Calgary last weekend, when they filled 11 trailers.

“I hope we can outshine Calgary,” she said with a laugh.

“They did really well and it’s all for the same cause. Every little bit helps, even if it’s just a grocery bag full, everything is appreciated.”

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