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‘Little party’ planned to help mom recover from brain surgery

Tara Jeffrey There’s no community like Sarnia’s music community.
Brandy Boychuck and two-year-old daughter, Lucy.Submitted Photo
Brandy Boychuck and two-year-old daughter, Lucy. Submitted Photo

Tara Jeffrey

There’s no community like Sarnia’s music community.

So says Millie Beskers, who’s spearheading a live music benefit to raise money for Brandy Boychuck, a 37-year-old single mother recovering from surgery after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in January.

“They have all these medical bills and none of them are working,” Beskers said of Brandy and her mother Louise Kinchsular, who has been caring for both Brandy and her two-year-old daughter Lucy.

“We were all sitting around at a jam session asking, ‘How can we help?’” said Beskers, a member of the Celtic Hillbillies and the Sarnia Kitchen Party Band and friends with Kinchsular, who plays in the Sarnia Legion Pipe Band.

“Someone suggested a benefit, and we’ve just gone from there.”

Brandy’s tumor, known as meningioma — described as ‘giant’ by doctors, her mother said — forms on membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.

Most cases of the non-cancerous growth are slow-growing, but can be triggered by pregnancy and nursing, which was likely a factor in Brandy’s case, Kinchsular said.

During an extensive surgery on Feb. 22 doctors removed 93% of the tumor, with the remaining growth too difficult to operate on. After that, she developed hydrocephalus, or, excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain, which doctors are currently monitoring.

“If the tumor continues to grow they’ll have to do radiation, and she’ll be monitored closely for years,” said Kinchsular. “Now that she’s home, she cannot be left alone, can’t lift anything over five pounds.

“I’ve been with her every day and night.”

It’s unknown if or when Boychuck, who worked in retail prior to the diagnosis, will be able to return to her job.

But she’s been blown away by the community support, her mother said.

“She can’t believe the good people in Sarnia,” she said, noting the benefit is growing. “She is almost beside herself.”

Tickets for the May 11 event, upstairs at the Sarnia Legion, are $10 and available at the Legion or Bottom’s Up. Live music is slated to run from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., including the Sarnia Legion Pipe Band, Jim Lahey and Friends, Failte, Steve Dumont, and more. The event also includes silent auctions, 50/50 draw, hot dogs and chilli.

“At the very end, we’re going to get everybody back on stage to play together; it’s going to be really neat,” said Beskers. “It’s going to be a happy day.”

Kinchsular said her daughter has remained surprisingly upbeat despite the circumstances and is recovering well.

“After the surgery, Brandy said, ‘Mom, when this is all over, can we just have a little party?’” she said. “We had no clue it would morph into this.”

Anyone looking for more information, or to make a donation, can call Millie at 519-402-1700 or Louise at 519-402-4331.

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