Michelle Fines is facing the fight of her life, but she’s got the support of an entire community behind her.
“It’s been amazing,” said Kevin Fines, brother to the Sarnia native who, at age 30, is facing her second battle with cancer.
“My phone has been ringing off the hook with people reaching out to support our family and what Michelle is going through,” said the owner of Micor Source for Sports. “It’s really heartwarming.”
Already a breast cancer survivor, Fines received the crippling news during a checkup this month that her cancer had returned — this time, it’s inoperable stage 4 bone cancer.
Further testing revealed the disease has spread throughout her body, with lesions in her spine, hips, skull, arms and blood.
But the bright, resilient Fines — a dental hygienist and graduate of St. Christopher Secondary — won’t let the grim diagnosis be a death sentence.
“Basically, she’s going to try to fight it every way she can,” said Fines, pointing to both naturopathic and western forms of treatment, including vitamin injections, and visits to the Mayo Clinic’s Minnesota campus to explore other options.
“She’s determined to beat this, and have her body respond to the treatments,” said Fines. “And she’s focusing a lot on the mental side of it, too.
“She’s staying unbelievably positive and extremely proactive about everything. Obviously, there’s times when she’s overwhelmed, but her overall attitude is fantastic.”
In an effort to help cover the costs of Fines’ treatment, friends and family have launched an online fundraising campaign, Funds for Fines, with a goal to raise $50,000.
In a matter of days, more than half that amount was raised — much of it stemming from the generosity of friends, family and complete strangers in Sarnia-Lambton.
“She would never ask for help, and this is just one of those times that you know she needs it,” said longtime friend Stephanie Kennedy. “I don’t want her to have to worry about coming up with the money for things, when her time is going to be limited. I want her to be able to just enjoy her life.”
“Sarnia is such a giving community,” she added. “I can’t believe how much they have stepped up.”
Kennedy and others are hosting a fundraiser at Norms Pub and Grill for May 8. Nearly sold out, organizers will continue to sell tickets for anyone looking to donate.
Fines, who recently moved to Edmonton with her partner, Aaron Bold, will return home for the event.
“It’s tough,” said Kennedy. “She’s so young, and it’s hard to understand.
“But we just want her to feel loved and supported. That’s our focus.”
To donate, visit: http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/funds-for-fines/323945#