Lo­cal women thank­ful for com­mu­nity sup­port for ter­mi­nally ill sis­ter

On­line fundraiser raises more than $5,000 in one week

The Labradorian - - EDITORIAL - BY DANETTE DOO­LEY

Kim­berly Fitzger­ald of Labrador City and her fam­ily are over­whelmed with the sup­port their sis­ter Natasha Et­sell has been re­ceiv­ing from the com­mu­nity and be­yond.

“We are not a fam­ily to ask for much, but, when you are in this sit­u­a­tion, you do what you can to help the peo­ple you love,” Fitzger­ald said via e-mail.

Et­sell was di­ag­nosed with brain can­cer in Novem­ber 2016. Her can­cer is ter­mi­nal.

Fitzger­ald said the fam­ily started the Go Fund Me ini­tia­tive out of ne­ces­sity for their sis­ter’s med­i­cal needs and other ex­penses as­so­ci­ated with the can­cer di­ag­no­sis.

“We want to en­sure (Natasha’s) time is spent with the peo­ple she loves and has the best pos­si­ble care avail­able,” Fitzger­ald said of her 45-year-old sis­ter.

Et­sell is the youngest of six sib­lings (sis­ters Pauline Rose, Sylvia Travers, Jackie Gran­ter, Kim­berly Fitzger­ald and brother Jerry Rose).

She grew up in Labrador City but has been liv­ing in Sept Iles, Que­bec, for more than 20 years.

The sib­lings’ par­ents Wil­fred and Irene Et­sell are both de­ceased. Wil­fred Et­sell worked with IOC for many years, and that’s why the sib­lings grew up in Labrador.

“My­self, Jackie and Sylvia still re­side here, this is home,” Fitzger­ald said of Labrador City.

Sib­lings Pauline Rose and Jerry Rose live in On­tario.

Et­sell has two chil­dren – a daugh­ter in her 20s and a 15-year-old son who lives with his mother.

Fitzger­ald de­scribes her sis­ter as a “beau­ti­ful kind and gen­tle soul, liv­ing a very quiet and mea­ger life.”

“She would give any­one any­thing or do what she could for them, some­times do­ing with­out her­self. She has not vis­ited home for many years for fi­nan­cial rea­sons, but did come home this sum­mer.”

Her sis­ter’s re­cent visit to Labrador City was a great time for the fam­ily, Fitzger­ald said.

“We look back now and it was al­most as if it was meant to hap­pen then. She had no idea of what was to come.”

What was to come was a ter­mi­nal brain can­cer di­ag­no­sis.

“Symp­toms came on very sud­denly and she quickly had to go to Que­bec for ra­di­a­tion, where she spent some time. (Natasha) is back home now and re­ceiv­ing chemo­ther­apy to try and al­le­vi­ate some symp­toms,” Fitzger­ald said.

Her sis­ter can­not alone, she said.

“We, as a fam­ily, are do­ing ev­ery­thing we can for one of us to be with her at all times. This is not easy but we will make it hap­pen.”

The Go Fund Me ac­count was set up on Dec. 26, 2016. By Jan. 1 it had raised more than $5,000. The goal is to raise $7,000.

Fitzger­ald said the on­line fundrais­ing drive has al­lowed the fam­ily to reach many peo­ple they could not have done on their own.

She has al­ways known Labrador City was a small “help your neigh­bour” kind of town, be left Fitzger­ald said, and, she added, in times of cri­sis or ill­ness the peo­ple of Labrador City truly come to­gether.

“The help we have re­ceived not only mon­e­tary, but air miles to help with flights etc. has been be­yond amaz­ing. At this time of year we never ex­pected the gen­eros­ity, which has been shown. There are no words to ex­press how thank­ful we all are for the bless­ings for Natasha,” she said of the name given to the Go Fund Me ac­count.

When asked how her sis­ter is do­ing, Fitzger­ald said, Natasha is tired, sick and weak but tak­ing each day as it comes.

“There’s al­ways a smile on her beau­ti­ful face,” she said.

Et­sell has a word of ad­vice for oth­ers that she re­lays through her sis­ter.

Don’t ever take any­thing for granted the ter­mi­nally ill woman would like peo­ple to keep in mind.

“Whether it’s the food you eat, the air you breathe or the sun­shine on your skin, even the snow­falls and the rain, it’s all a gift,” Fitzger­ald said of the mes­sage her sis­ter shares with oth­ers.

Any­one wish­ing to do­nate to the fundraiser can do by vis­it­ing www.gofundme.ca and search­ing Bless­ings for Natasha.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Natasha Et­sell, who grew up in Labrador City, was re­cently di­ag­nosed with ter­mi­nal can­cer. Et­sell’s sis­ters started a fundrais­ing cam­paign on Go Fund Me, which has raised more than $5,000 in one week.

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