Volunteers raising money to support family as 11-year-old girl begins cancer treatment

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A community organization is raising money to support a local family after finding out their young daughter’s cancer has returned.

Lauren Stemmann, 11, was diagnosed with a cancer called neuroblastoma, which develops from immature nerve cells, at the age of four. After years of treatments at Edmonton’s Stollery Children’s Hospital and Calgary’s Children’s Hospital, Stemmann went into remission for five years. Earlier this month, the family learned the cancer had returned. Treatments begin next week.

Many people have mobilized around Stemmann and her family to offer whatever help they can. Billy Martin, an organizer with community fundraising group YMM Angels, has brought local business together for an online silent auction fundraiser.

Martin has worked on several community fundraisers since 2014. His most notable campaign was in 2017, when he mobilized dozens of local businesses and volunteers to renovate a mobile home for the family of Lily Morgan, a three-year-old girl with a fragile immune system and a heart disorder.


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Once again, a roster of local businesses and volunteers are ready to help. One community member is making 250 face masks with ‘Team Lauren 2020’ written over the front. Masks will be sold for $20 each at Martin’s Sweet Meats Sandwich Bar in Thickwood and all profits will go to the Stemmann family.

“It’s a lot of work once you get going with organizing donations but I say all the time that I couldn’t do this anywhere else,” said Martin. “There’s a real sense of community here that is just not like other places.”

YMM Angels is running online silent auctions on its Facebook page until Dec. 12. To close the silent auctions, Martin and YMM Angels are planning a community event at participating bars downtown to bring in more donations.

For more information on how to donate to the Stemmann family or how to bid in the online silent auction, head to YMM Angels’ Facebook fundraising page.


Fort McMurray Today is part of the Local Journalism Initiative and reporters are funded by the Government of Canada to produce civic journalism for underserved communities. Learn more about the initiative

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