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Wellesley waives rental fees for fundraiser event to help cancer patient

Jacqueline Stevanus’ friends and family showed they’re not about to sit idly by as she undergoes treatment for cancer for the third time in her life.

It was a full house at Wellesley council chambers on Tuesday evening as they asked council to waive the rental hall fees for a concert fundraiser they’re planning for Aug. 20 to assist 29-year-old Stevanus and her husband Brent.

Steve Giovanniello spoke on behalf of the people there in support of the Wellesley couple.

“We feel they should not be entering this fight alone, without their community support. And we plan on doing that,” Giovanniello said.

Council agreed to waive the large rental hall fee for the Wellesley Community Centre, which is about $400 plus HST.

Stevanus was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when she was seven. She underwent chemotherapy and was cancer free for three years. The cancer came back when she was 10 and she went through chemotherapy, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant.

For the last three years she’d been monitored for a few nodules on the left side of her thyroid. Last Christmas she noticed a lump on the right side of her neck and a a biopsy discovered she had thyroid cancer, while a further CT scan showed cancer on her lymph nodes as well.

Her thyroid and parathyroid glands were removed this February. A PET scan discovered the cancer had spread to her upper chest one month later.

After two months of chemotherapy in Stratford, a PET scan found it wasn’t working and the cancer has spread to her lungs and hip.

She’s now enrolled in the Immune Therapy Program at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto.

“Now at the age of 29 she’s fighting for her life once again. Jacky’s husband, Brent, has taken the occasional time off work to care for her while undergoing treatments. Jacky is on long-term disability from Home Hardware,” Giovanniello said.

Giovanniello notes Jacky’s uncle, Darryl Moore, a well-known restauranteur of many establishments in Waterloo Region including Dallas Night Club, The Fox and the Fiddle, McCabe’s and Bobby O’Brien’s to name a few, will be assisting to run the event. He holds a $5 million liability insurance and a catering endorsement which allows him to license any venue in Ontario.

“Since becoming a resident of Wellesley it’s been easy to fall in love with this community. We here have taken part in making the community what it is today – caring, friendly, and compassionate. Whether we coach hockey, soccer, volunteer at the local public school, we’ll all played our own role. We’re asking that Wellesley council play a small part as well,” Giovanniello said.

Coun. Herb Neher was the only councillor who voted against the motion, questioning how council would be able to justify saying no to any other group that comes asking for rental fees to be waived. Mayor Joe Nowak stated he didn’t see this as precedent-setting and the motion was approved 4-1.

Wellesley’s director of facilities, Brad Voisin, said the township’s bylaw regarding any groups putting on fundraising events states groups will pay the full rental fee, but if they want council to consider waiving or reducing the rental fees it’s done on a case-by-case basis if the group comes as a delegation to council.

“Since we have come to know Jacky and Brent we have come to love them as family. And in my books we don’t let family down. Jacky has had plenty of letdowns, especially with cancer reoccurring. She certainly doesn’t need anymore,” Giovanniello said.

Anyone interested in donating to Jacky and Brent Stevanus can visit www.youcaring.com/jacky-stevanus-587033.

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