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  • Fundraiser generates thousands for Chestermere boy

    Community comes together to support five-year-old Owen

    Miss Hiloma's Grade 3 class at St. Gabriel made this poster of inspirational messages for Owen

    Miss Hiloma's Grade 3 class at St. Gabriel made this poster of inspirational messages for Owen

    CHESTERMERE – There wasn’t much extra space to be had at WestCreek Pub on Dec. 15, as the place was packed with both people and donated silent auction items during a special fundraiser.

    The event was quickly put together by friends and coworkers of local mom Charissa, who’s son Owen was recently diagnosed with stage four lymphoma. Charissa took Owen to the Alberta Children’s Hospital as he was complaining of stomach aches, and shortly after learned about how serious his condition was. Treatment was started immediately in the hopes of saving him.

    After hearing about his diagnosis, Charissa’s friends sprung into action to raise money so that she and his dad, Justin, could stay by his bedside at hospital.

    Charissa’s friends exhausted almost every avenue of getting the word out about Owen and the fundraiser, and they were successful, as both the monetary and silent auction donations came flooding in. A close friend of Charissa, Alison Cassidy, said that she is pretty sure they raised around $15,000 to $20,000 from the auction alone.

    Everything from handmade art, to signed sports jerseys, to Flames and World Junior hockey tickets to appliances were donated, and bidders were busy until the auction closed.

    “It was a huge success, the turnout was fantastic,” she said. “It was so nice to see such support, I couldn’t believe it.

    “I didn’t realize how many people had jumped on board, we had such a phenomenal response.”

    Since the auction, they have been continuing their drive for donations, and support has come from every direction.

    Cassidy said that they have received a $1,000 donation from the local Lions Club, and a donation from Graham Auctions who held a fundraiser this past weekend and raised $3,300. She said that the Wannabe’s Mens Hockey team has also donated $1,000 towards Owen’s Fund, and that all proceeds from the Charity Hockey Game at the Chestermere Winter Festival on Jan. 14 will go toward his fund as well.

    Cassidy said that she had no doubt that so much support would come in for his cause.

    “My heart was always in it 100 per cent, he deserves it,” she said. “It’s a pay-it-forward situation as well, as Kids Cancer Care is already benefitting from what we’ve accomplished.

    “We’re going to keep going, we’re doing really well so far.”

    Cassidy said that Owen is still the same brave and happy five-year-old he has always been.

    “He’s doing treatments right now, and the chances for a good outcome aren’t high right now, but we’re still hoping,” she said. “We’re crossing out fingers that it’s treatable and that he pulls through.

    “It’s one of those things where we didn’t want people to donate out of sympathy, but out of support. He needs positive thinking.”

    Cassidy said that Owen deserves every bit of support he has received, and that she is just happy to have been a part of building that support for him.

    A Facebook page called “Owen’s Angels” has been set up, where progress reports will be posted about Owen’s conditions and how the fundraising efforts are going. There are also photos from the fundraiser on the page, as well as a link to a website where donations can be made online.

    Donations toward Owen’s Fund can also be made at any Royal Bank location for the next month.