The Prystie family at their annual cancer fundraiser.

The Prystie family at their annual cancer fundraiser.

A reason to smile in trying times

A South Surrey family has helped raise more than $17,000 to help cancer patients with their dental work.

For Lynda Prystie, the idea that cancer would affect someone in her family had never been considered.

The mother of three had no history of the disease in her family and had no reason to believe she would ever have to deal with the devastating diagnosis.

That all changed in December 2009 after a mole removal for her daughter Lauryn, then 23, turned into something much more.

Results from a pathology test showed the mole was malignant, and while a skin sample for cancer came back negative, a lymph node dissection did not.

After treatment at Surrey Memorial Hospital and at BC Cancer Agency’s Fraser Valley Centre, the cancerous lymph nodes were removed and Lauryn, now 25, has been cancer-free for nearly a year-and-a-half.

Following Lauryn’s successful treatment in July 2010, the Prystie family hosted a community fundraiser using Lauryn’s nickname, Yo – calling the event the MelaYOma Fundraiser.

Charging $50 per person, the event raised more than $19,000 to give back to the BC Cancer Foundation at SMH to thank them for the care they gave her daughter, Lynda said.

“They were so upbeat and they helped so much,” she said.

They used the money to purchase new chairs and fund other patient comforts at the clinic, including an IV allowing three drugs to be administered at once, significantly cutting treatment time.

“We wanted to do something tangible, something that could create comfort and that people could see – this is where the money is going,” Lynda said.

Despite Lauryn’s clean bill of health, the two women have not forgotten about the people they met on their journey who are having a more difficult time with the illness, Lynda said.

“Just because Lauryn is better doesn’t mean we will give up the cause,” she said.

In August 2011, the Prystie family and friends once again hosted a fundraiser, this time bringing in $17,000 for the BCCF. Lynda and Lauryn presented the cheque to the foundation Oct. 21, and in late-November, they received a call from Dr. Alan Hovan at SMH informing them that the money would be going to the dental emergency fund.

“The bulk of the donated money will be going to help patients with throat, mouth and tongue cancer who may need dental reconstructive surgery,” she said. “The fund was depleted so it was such a big help to them.”

Because of treatment, some patients can lose their teeth or even parts of their mouth – a crushing blow to patients, physically and emotionally.

“If you have chemo and you lose your hair, you have a wig, a scarf – even bald is great with big earrings,” Lynda said.

“But if you don’t have your teeth and a nice smile or you can’t smile without feeling bad, you’re not going to feel better and you’re not going to get better.”

Being able to raise the funds was not something that could have happened without the support of the community, Lynda said. The outpouring of support – in the form of both money and volunteers for the event – has encouraged the family to continue with their cause.

“We received so much help from people who attended the event and even people who were not able to make it and donated,” she said. “The small businesses donated and were such a great support.”

The remaining money will be added to a fund the Prystie’s created last year to help transport patients who are financially strained to the Fraser Valley Chemo Lab at SMH and with any additional medical costs.

Funds can be donated to the MelaYOma Fundraising Society account at TD Canada Trust, 15137 16 Ave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The emergency department at Peace Arch Hospital in White Rock, B.C., in July 2020. (Black Press Media)
Peace Arch Hospital Foundation reaches $12 million goal

New operating suites to open this fall

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police “E” Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on April 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Surrey RCMP asking for dash-cam video of ‘suspicious incident’

Incident involves a newer model Toyota Rav 4 SUV

Surrey RCMP are investigating a “serious” collision near Cloverdale Saturday evening. (Curtis Kreklau photo)
One man dead after single vehicle collision in Cloverdale

Police say vehicle collided with telephone pole at approximately 9:30 p.m.

An animated Gordie Hogg introduces his 'Community Connections' videos. (YouTube screenshot)
Community Connections: Gordie Hogg speaks with Denise Stevenson

Former mayor, MP began posting conversations on YouTube in June

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Vaccine hesitancy decreases in B.C. as mass immunizations set to begin: poll

Two-thirds of British Columbians, and Canadians, would get the vaccine as soon as possible

Software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, has been forced to re-skill during the COVID-19 pandemic after more than six years of unsuccessfully applying for jobs in B.C.’s tech industry. (Submitted photo/Shaimma Yehia)
Why skilled immigrant women continue to be shut out of B.C.’s booming tech sector

Experienced software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, hasn’t found a job since she migrated to Canada 6 years ago

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover digging in with B.C.-made part

Kennametal’s Langford plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

Poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with more men believing equality had been achieved

This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, left, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP)
Race, title and anguish: Meghan and Harry explain royal rift

Meghan said she struggled with concerns within the royal family about her son’s skin colour

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

The Kimber family of Boston Bar lost their home in a fire. Blaine Kimber’s daughter created a fundraiser to help rebuild the home with the goal of $100,000. (Screenshot/GoFundMe)
Fundraiser created for Boston Bar family that lost everything in weekend fire

Witnesses say the Kimber family escaped the fire without injury, but their home is a total loss

Most Read