An Orillia family has been reeling for over a year now as Dan Wadsworth, a father of five, has been battling Stage 4 cancer.
“It was out of the blue. I was totally healthy, I spent a lot of time playing hockey, tennis and baseball, and I had no problems,” the 41-year-old Wadsworth explained.
After being diagnosed between Christmas and New Year’s last year, Wadsworth underwent extensive treatment right away, including chemotherapy and surgery at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto.
Wadsworth has also been undergoing treatment with a naturopathic cancer specialist in Vaughan — treatment that is not covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). As a result of the many treatments, Wadsworth has been put on long-term leave and has been off work since last April.
“Right now, I got to be honest, it’s a bit of a burden,” Wadsworth said.
“When I was working it was OK, but going on short-term leave was a significant hit financially, and then when I went on long-term, it was a real drastic drop, especially for a family of seven living off a single income," he said.
When Michelle Laframboise, co-owner of Orillia Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, heard that Wadsworth, one of her clients, was suffering from cancer and struggling to make ends meet, she decided to do something to raise desperately needed funds for the family.
“I have two children of my own and I could not imagine them losing their father,” Laframboise said. “They need all the help they can get, and we live in an amazing community who will help if we can just spread the word.”
Laframboise has set the lofty goal of raising $10,000. She is hoping other local businesses will join the campaign in pursuit of achieving that goal.
“Our initiative is to challenge other local businesses to help this family out. We want to get this local family as much exposure as possible, whether it’s though challenging local businesses to raise money or through other avenues, we want to help any way we can,” Laframboise said.
Already, Jordan Rossman and the Rossman Team have joined the effort. The Rossman team has pledged a matching donation for the first $1,000 Orillia Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation raises.
Helping the Wadsworth family was extra important to The Rossman Team, as the local real estate company sold their home almost two years ago.
“It hit home for me, being in a small town and having those connections with their family. It became that much more important for me help,” Rossman said.
Rossman says this is a way for his team of realtors to give back to the community.
“Over my six years in real estate, the people of Orillia have supported me through a lot, and they have collectively helped our business grow,” Rossman explained.
“So it was really a no-brainer to contribute to this. It’s one of those things where we want to give as much as we can and do anything else that will help raise more.”
Rossman says the Rossman Team's donation of $1,000 is not where their support will end. He pledged they will continue to help fundraising efforts for the Wadsworth family through advertising and connections with other local businesses.
“This is a family that needs it and deserves it. They have been huge supporters of the community in the past and it’s our turn to return the favour. After all, that is what community is for,” Rossman said
Wadsworth says he and his family are beyond thankful for the support of Orillia Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, and the Rossman team.
“It’s a support that you don’t realize the benefit of until you are in this type of a situation. I never thought I’d want this kind of support, but finding myself in this position and having that support from the community is a big thing, and a nice positive for my family,” Wadsworth said.
Wadsworth says the financial support from the community is a blessing, but having the community rally around him and his family is even more meaningful.
Wadsworth believes the support he receives from the community is going to be a huge part of his road to recovery.
“There are actually studies showing that people who have that widespread community support do better, and have better outcomes, so I think beyond the financial part of it, this does a lot for us,” he said.