OLDS — Mothers in the Olds area are rallying around a 23-year-old mom receiving treatment for cancer as she waits for one of her five-month-old twins to have heart surgery this summer.
Misty Reimer, who moved back to Olds last year, started chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s lymphoma in April and is expected to continue treatment until September.
Her son Grey Reimer-Bye had stomach surgery when he was only two days old in December because his small intestine wasn’t attached to his stomach. He will have surgery to repair the hole in his heart in late June or early July.
“It’s hard with two boys. I have treatment every second Thursday, and I’m usually down for four days or so,” said the single mom about chemotherapy side effects.
But she’s hopeful that her cancer will be cured since treatment for Hodgkin’s has a high success rate.
Reimer is also grateful for the volunteers who drop by to help.
“I’ve got volunteers who would like to come clean laundry and help clean my house,” she said on Monday, while burping one of her sons.
She only has a few relatives in the area and has been receiving social assistance, with some financial assistance from the twins’ father.
Before she gave birth, Reimer worked at Fields Store in Olds. Prior to that, she managed two night clubs in Medicine Hat. She planned to go to Olds College in the fall to start a business degree in accounting until she discovered she had cancer.
Now she’s just focusing on getting healthy, seeing Grey through his surgery, and ensuring his twin Ayen gets the care he needs.
The SOS to help Reimer went out to nearby moms on the Olds and Area Moms Facebook page in May.
The public health nurse at Olds Community Health Centre spearheaded the effort to donate diapers, frozen meals, baby formula and offers of babysitting and house cleaning to the family. Cash donations are also being accepted.
Reimer said she could use the money to help pay for child care, medication, and gasoline to travel back and forth to Edmonton where Grey will need to stay for six weeks following his surgery.
Volunteer Julie Cappis said there are simple ways to help out, like cooking a meal Reimer can keep in the freezer to feed her family.
“Anyway you look at it, she’s going to need extra help,” Cappis said.
“People are going to rally in the beginning. But she is going to need support through the whole thing.”