The Blackfalds community is rallying around a soon-to-be mother of two who lost her common-law-husband and his sister within the first two weeks of 2019.
“It still doesn’t feel real — and I wish it wasn’t my reality,” said seven-month pregnant Alana Newbold, 22. “But I’m so, so grateful the entire community has been stepping up to help me…”
Newbold’s life partner and father of her children, Eric Wiebe, died of a heart attack on Jan. 14 while planning a funeral for his sister Paige, who killed herself on New Year’s Day.
She recalled that Eric first experienced chest pains after midnight. The 38-year-old, who did not have prior cardiac problems, had been working on and off in the oil industry because of the slowed economy, and was stressed over his sister’s death. Paige had struggled with mental illness, said Newbold.
Eric decided to drive himself to Red Deer hospital when the pains didn’t ease after he took a couple of Aspirins.
“I asked if he wanted me to call the ambulance, or if he wanted me to drive him,” she said, but he declined both offers. Somebody had to stay home with their sleeping daughter, Everlee, Newbold recalled, and Eric thought he would be OK driving himself.
When he never made it to hospital, Newbold alerted police and Eric was discovered in an overturned vehicle near Carnival Cinema. He had suffered a fatal heart attack and crashed the car.
The stay-at-home mom said she’s “as good as I can can be” after experiencing the double loss of her partner and his sister within a couple of weeks.
Newbold now facing some tough financial decisions, including selling their newly purchased acreage, which she can no longer afford. She also needs a replacement vehicle — especially since prenatal tests show her in-utero son has a club foot and will need extensive treatments once he’s born.
“I’ll have to drive for weekly appointments to Calgary for several castings to fix the problem,” she said.
Friends, including those who met Newbold at a mom and baby group, have started several fundraisers to help ease her financial burdens. “I can’t imagine what she’s going through,” said Laura Hamell, who has a child the same age as Newbold’s 16-month-old daughter.
A GoFundMe campaign for Newbold, Everlee and the new baby, who’s due in two months, has raised almost $27,000 so far, said her long-time friend, Mackenzie Doll-Mercier.
There’s also a Cosmos campaign in which people can donate the proceeds from their returned bottles to Newbold and her children.
Doll-Mercer and Hamell have been collecting donations for an on-line Facebook auction, as well, which will be held Feb. 10-14. More than 100 merchants have already donated gift cards for merchandise or services-in-kind. (For more information, please visit the Facebook site @supportandloveforalana.)
If each auctioned item sells for $100, Doll-Mercier said that would total $10,000. “I’d like to be able to give her enough so she can purchase a vehicle for the family.”
Doll-Mercier feels that Newbold “is still trying to process this,” and get into a better state of mind before giving birth to her son.
The young mother admitted she’s “overwhelmed,” but extremely grateful for the community’s kindness.