ALTON — Community is defined simply as a group of people who live in the same area, but when it comes to supporting one of its own, “community” can be much more.
In February 2012, Kate Mullaney Fisher, 38, discovered she had advanced Stage IV colon cancer; the cancer formed in her large intestine had spread to her lymph nodes throughout her body. The young mother of two children (age 5 and 9) immediately underwent surgery to remove the tumor, along with 18 inches of her intestines. After many rounds of chemotherapy, and the absence of cancerous symptoms, she was in remission and decided to move back to the Alton area from her home in Tennessee to be closer to her family.
Just one month later, in January 2013, she learned the cancer had returned, which meant more chemotherapy and targeted radiation therapy to shrink the tumors growing in the lymph nodes of her neck.
“It’s amazing what a fighter Kate is,” close friend and former high school classmate Vanessa Morrissey Bassett said. “She’s so independent and wants to beat this on her own.”
Those close to Kate started brainstorming ways to help. Bassett said they were hoping to throw a benefit to help raise funds, but renting out venues and planning the event was costly and time-consuming. With Kate in the hospital undergoing pain assessment, Bassett said they needed something with a more immediate turnaround, so the idea of a GoFundMe page was introduced.
GoFundMe, a crowdfunding website that allows people to donate to numerous fundraising causes (whether for sports teams or medical bills) is an example of how successful a campaign can be through online social networking.
Bassett and friends set up the GoFundMe page, hoping to help with the costs of medical and supportive care that Kate needs in addition to more basic necessities such as groceries for the family.
The goal of $10,000 was met in less than two weeks.
“People sharing on Facebook really made it such a huge success,” Bassett said. “They were able to make it their own and say, ‘Help my friend Kate.’”
Bassett says Kate was overcome by emotion at the outpouring of love from the community.
With accumulating medical bills and cost of living needs, Bassett says the money raised so far will go fast, and has updated the GoFundMe goal to $15,000.
“We ask everyone to please continue to support Kate’s GoFundMe page, by either donating or continuing to spread the word; share her page through social media,” Bassett said. “This effort will help relieve the financial burden Kate and her children are experiencing during this difficult time.”
As Kate continues to fight with a strength and determination that amazes her friends and family, those closest to her continue to work hard, raising awareness to just how devastating a cancer battle can be … and how much it means when people are in your corner.
To donate to Kate Mullaney Fisher’s GoFundMe, visit http://www.gofundme.com/KateMullaney.