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Ponoka Kinsmen fundraiser well worth the effort put in

Updated: Mar 9, 2019

The support continues to flow from the community and back through the Ponoka Kinsmen Club.

A nearly full house at the Kinsmen Community Centre supported the club’s seventh annual dinner and live auction event April 14.

While the evening was about raising money, those in the audience got to hear part of the reason why this auction is held.

Red Deer’s Kelly Tibbets knows all too well what a diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis (CF) — a cause that Kinsmen clubs across Canada have championed for — can mean for a child and a family.

Tibbets and her husband Brian have an 11 year-old daughter, Reese, and were excited to welcome a second daughter Rowan, now eight. However, just three weeks after Rowan was born, the family was hit hard when tests came back stating Rowan had the lifelong genetic disease.

“CF to us is a very personal experience. We are real people having a very difficult situation. An important thing they tell you on diagnosis day, don’t go home and Google it. I went home and it was a frightening can of worms I opened,” Tibbets told the crowd.

“The fact we didn’t get the mental health support multiplied by all the other difficulties that come from having an infant with a chronic illness, unfortunately resulted in me being diagnosed with PTSD. I share this because a chronic illness affects the whole family. Marriages suffer, other siblings feel left out, relationships with extended family become difficult, especially if they don’t want to face the severity of what your family is facing.”

That last point can be a real problem, she added, since people neglect to say when someone is sick and the family with the chronically ill child decides to visit when they really shouldn’t.

“Since Rowan was diagnosed, she has taken over 35,000 pills, spent 50,000 hours dealing with treatments or fights about doing them, one surgery and over 300 hours spent waiting in the clinic,” Tibbets stated, noting Rowan is a healthy CF child.

“We are so proud of her. She doesn’t want people to know she has CF because she doesn’t like the pity or the looks she gets. That is what we call a CF silver lining — attitudes, accolades, relationships that have happened in our lives because of CF.”

The crowd also heard about what impact the funds raised will have on CF research from Kin Canada district director Rick Kuzyk. He noted the Kinsmen have supported CF research for 54 years, which has led to advances that include availability to screen newborns within days, increased median life expectancy to 53 years of age and figured out how a high protein diet with enzyme supplements have improved the lives of CF suffers.

And he added that since the Kinsmen took on CF as its national cause in 1987, the community orginization has raised more than $46 million.

During the evening, the Ponoka club announced a $4,000 donation to CF and Darren York, Ponoka Kinsmen president, stated just how pleased the club was about the success this year’s event achieved.

“This evening was really successful. With this donation, in 2018, the club has given back $30,000,” he said.

“The support we received from local businesses was tremendous and they are always great to us, providing 30 live auction items and 70 items for the silent auction. As well, what the people decide to bid and donate really means a lot.”

The overall amount raised was not available at press time.

Story by the Ponoka News

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