The totals are in for the fundraising initiative for Amanda & Andrew Harris, and the numbers indicate an unprecedented amount of generosity from the harness racing community.
Counting the proceeds from the late November online auction, donations through a GoFundMe Page and private pledges from individuals and organizations, the amount raised surpassed $152,000.
"I want to say I was in awe when I took this on to try and help out a young family struggling with health bills," said trainer Casie Coleman, who spearheaded the fundraising drive. "I finally decided to do something and in just over three weeks from when I started my first text and phone call to donors until the last item was sold, this community came together and did the unexpected: paid existing and future medical bills so this family can live life and raise their girls without struggling with these payments anymore. Those worries are now behind them and Amanda can focus on getting 110 percent healthy.
"We raised over $150,000 in three weeks! Thank you everyone!!"
The wife of trainer Andrew Harris, Amanda was diagnosed a stage III case in March 2015. Her treatments began in April and after 12 rounds of chemotherapy doctors reported her tumour had shrunk significantly. In late July, doctors performed a bilateral mastectomy and were able to remove the remainder of the cancerous growth from Amanda's chest, breast, and armpit.
Now nearing the conclusion of proton radiation therapy treatments, Amanda will be on hormone therapy for the next five years. The cost of many of these treatments have not been covered their medical insurance.
"The biggest thank you goes to all the donors and bidders, all the people who supported through GoFundMe and sent personal cheques directly to the Harris family ," continued Coleman. "Thanks as well to Jeff Porchak for putting together the online auction website, Standardbred Canada for helping with the publicity, Dan Fisher, Ken Middleton, April Campbell, Blake MacIntosh and Lisa Lefort Beaton for all the work to send all items out after auction and collect payments."