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B.C. family in need of support after mother’s stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis

Seek funds to cover treatment and care for their three autism-diagnosed kids
All three of Catherine’s kids, aged six, and three, have been diagnosed with autism and need extra help and support for which some of the GoFundMe funds are being used. (GoFundMe/Special to The News)

A Maple Ridge woman and her family have been struggling with her cancer diagnosis and the weight of what that would mean for their three young children, ever since last November. The family is hopeful that the GoFundMe started by a friend will help support them for a little while at least.

Catherine Albert-Moore, who worked at a local nonprofit called BC Family Hearing Resource Society as an Early Interventionist, was diagnosed with stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer metastasised to her hip bones and lower spine last November.

After this, a family friend, and Catherine’s colleague Emily Black, started a GoFundMe to help support the family through these tough days, which can be found here:

Catherine was moved from Ridge Meadows Hospital last year, to Abbotsford and her treatment was started. However, the journey to the diagnosis itself was a long, painful one, especially with a misdiagnosis. Her husband André Albert, told The News of the shock that the diagnosis gave the family.

“Our reaction at first was disbelief as we noticed the lump in her breast back in June. Then with the delays in the healthcare system and a misdiagnosis of mastitis and delays in getting results from ultrasound and mammogram she was diagnosed finally with cancer in November, but by then the cancer had spread to both femurs and her lower abs mid-spine,” he said, adding that the cancer had even spread to her skull.

“Quickly following this was immense sadness and fear. She’s essentially leaving our three children. Then followed immense stress, as we have to rework finances including daycare and autism support,” he said.

Catherine and André, have three kids, the oldest is six years old and the twins are three years old. All three kids have been diagnosed with autism.

“We will not sacrifice autism support so depending on how this goes I may have to sacrifice some hours or switch days at work,” he said.

Through all of this, there has been COVID for the family to worry about. If any of the family members got sick, it would mean Catherine would get no visits from the family, and that worried André.

Catherine, who was discharged last week, was re-admitted to the emergency room due to pneumonia and infection and just got back home this week. She still has three more sessions of chemo before the family knows if it is working.

So far, the GoFundMe has raised $30,100, and while the family is grateful for the funds, they are also seeing how fast the funds are depleting.

“The GoFundMe money has been critical to our ongoing support here as we had to leverage it to cover transport to and from chemo and appointments, since she can’t walk and is relegated to bed only. We have also had to hire SNT - Special Needs Transport but that’s almost $400 each way, so nearly $800 per day for each appointment,” explained André.

The family also leveraged the GoFundMe funds to purchase a specialized chair for her worth $4,000 that helps her get up, and also used the funds to pay for daycare. The funds were also used for respite, as between watching the three kids with autism, their school, their daycare, their autism support, and finally Catherine and her needs, André didn’t have time to do any grocery or run errands and so some of the money went towards babysitters.

“As you can see we’re burning through the GoFundMe funds pretty quickly hence the urgency in any help we can get,” he said, adding, “Catherine’s been a real example through all of this. She’s a tough cookie and still can smile and put others first. Still patient, understanding, living, caring the list goes on; amazing woman!”

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Catherine has been in and out of the hospital since November last year. (GoFundMe/Special to the News)
Catherine staying strong through her diagnosis. (GoFundMe/Special to The News)

Priyanka Ketkar

About the Author: Priyanka Ketkar

Priyanka Ketkar has been a journalist since 2011 with extensive experience in community-driven news writing, feature writing, and editing.
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