An Airdrie woman is raising funds to help a long-time friend, whose young daughter is suffering from leukemia.
Lynette Bartlett, who has resided in Airdrie for four years, recently started a GoFundMe page and has pledged to shave her head to show support for four-year-old Abbie, who lives in Red Deer with her parents Julie Reimer and Chris Parsons.
“It’s just a way to get a little bit more offered for them – you can imagine the sacrifices that were made in the last little while since Abbie was diagnosed,” Bartlett said. “So, it was just a way to help, in a way that I thought I could do more than what financially on my own I could do.”
She explained that her and Parsons’ friendship began about 15 years ago, when she also lived in Red Deer. Though they remain close, Bartlett said she has never had the opportunity to meet Abbie, as she moved from Red Deer before the girl was born and with the craziness of life and conflicting schedules since then, an in-person reunion hasn’t been possible.
Abbie was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in March 2021 at the age of three, according to Bartlett. In August, she celebrated her fourth birthday in the hospital.
According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada, AML is a rapidly progressing cancer of myeloid stem cells.
Over 900 children aged 14 and younger are diagnosed with blood cancers in Canada every year. About 300 of these children are diagnosed with leukemia – approximately one-third of all childhood cancer diagnoses.
As of press time, $6,375 had been raised to support Abbie and her parents – surpassing the initial goal of $5,000 after just three days.
Bartlett said she is extremely grateful for the response from the community.
“Many hands working together, it’s been an unreal response,” she said. “It just shows what a little bit of effort from a lot of people can go into such a big thing, it’s been really wonderful.”
She added Abbie’s family gave their blessing for her to proceed with the fundraiser, and she is looking forward to presenting them with all the funds when the GoFundMe page closes in October.
“They’re just so grateful that I would do this for them – to me it seems like such a small gesture and a simple sacrifice in comparison to what they’ve gone through,” Bartlett said.
As an addition to the fundraiser, Bartlett has pledged to shave her head as a tribute to Abbie. She said she has planned for Little House of Glam in Airdrie to help her on Oct. 19, which is also the date of her 37th birthday. The fundraiser will be open until then.
“I’m excited to do it, I’m excited for the shaved hair. And I think the fun styles I’ll have in the re-growing-out stage, when that arrives, will be interesting, and fun, and maybe awkward too,” she laughed.
For more information about Bartlett’s initiative, and to donate, visit bit.ly/2W5ggXy