A fundraiser will take place Saturday, Sept. 14 at the Treasure Cove show lounge to help a local woman whose breast cancer has been the least of her recent problems.
Dorothy Horton, 57, has gone through treatment for breast cancer, including a mastectomy, and is currently awaiting test results on a tumor found in her remaining breast.
Four weeks after she had her breast removed in April 2012, her daughter Colleen in Calgary, who was six months pregnant and married for seven months, called and told her that her whole left side had gone numb.
"It was the result of having a genetic disease called neurofibromatosis, also called NF 1, and it blinded her in one eye," said Horton, who said it was discovered that the disease came from her. Hormone changes, like during a pregnancy, trigger growth of a tumor.
"Colleen had an MRI and they found a golfball-sized tumor on her brain stem," Horton said.
They wanted to do a C section, take the baby and do surgery. The decision to wait was made and it was determined the tumor was inoperable.
At eight months in utero, baby girl Maya was born weighing five pounds, and radiation began on Colleen to try to shrink the tumor.
Horton, who was still trying to recover from breast cancer, looked after her daughter and the new baby. Horton returned to Prince George for a couple of months and in the meantime Colleen, 31, started chemotherapy treatment because the radiation didn't work. After a week or so chemotherapy proved ineffective as well.
Since April of this year, Colleen has been at the Salvation Army Agap Hospice in Calgary and Horton visits as often as she can.
Unfortunately, being out of work for the last year and a half dealing with her health crisis, as well as her daughter's, has depleted Horton's finances considerably. When she spends two weeks at a time in Calgary, she sleeps in her van in the parking lot of the hospice.
"I tried to stay at a hotel but it's $100 a day and I can't afford that," said Horton. "Hospice house was really, really good to me and wonderful with my daughter and they let me stay there for a while."
In the meantime Horton's brother suffered the loss of a family member on his wife's side and as Horton is trying to deal with her cancer and her daughter's terminal illness, she is also trying to comfort her brother.
"I just don't need anymore," said Horton, breaking down in tears. "I just need to see my daughter in hospice as much as I can. She's deteriorated so much that she can't walk, can't talk, can't hold her baby and now she can't swallow her medication. Because the tumor is on her brain stem, it's affecting her entire body but her brain is not affected so she knows exactly what's going on and she is very agitated. It's horrible."
Compared to everything else she's dealing with Horton has an unusual take on her cancer.
"Dealing with my breast cancer was nothing," said Horton. "I went in there, I dealt with it and I thought carry on, let's get it over with, take it off and let's get back to business. Cancer was nothing compared to watching my daughter suffer."
When her neighbour, Margaret Camilli, heard about Horton's situation, she promptly began organizing a fundraiser with the help of her musician husband, Chris.
"If we can help in any way, it's a good thing and we're hoping the great people of Prince George will help Dorothy in a big way," said Camilli.
The fundraiser is a dinner dance and silent auction with Chris providing the entertainment performing classic rock and modern country.
"I have got the most fabulous friends and neighbours that have been with me through all of this and for Margaret and Chris to hold this fundraiser for me is just wonderful," said Horton.
If anyone would like to donate to Horton or donate silent auction items to the dinner dance, contact Margaret Camilli at 250-964-1496. Tickets for the fundraiser are $30 each at Papyrus Printing, 2358 South Ospika Blvd.