A long-distance friend of a heartbroken Airdrie family is holding an online memorial fundraiser after Tina Wiebe, wife and mother, passed away on Christmas Eve from transitional cell carcinoma — a kidney cancer that spread to her lungs and lymph nodes.
“I lost my mom when I was a kid so I know how hard it is,” said the fundraiser’s organizer, Shannon Lavenia who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
Lavenia said she met Wiebe and her husband Peter Wiebe a decade a go at personal development conferences, adding that she fell in love with the couple and their loving personalities.
“I just wanted to give Peter as much time for his kids,” Lavenia said. “You remember what it’s like to be 14 — to lose you mom at that time is impossible. I wanted to help them because the whole process of cancer treatments and grieving is financially straining.”
Wiebe was diagnosed with cancer in March 2014 and succumbed to her disease only nine months later.
“We didn’t have time for planning,” Peter said. “(Her death) was unexpected… I’ve been off (from work) helping and taking her to doctors.”
Lavenia said she started the fundraiser because she wanted Wiebe’s children, Darrel, 16, and Leandra, 14, to be able to spend time with Peter while they grieve. She added, money strains often prevent families from spending adequate time with each other after a tragic loss.
“I went on the way wrong path (when my mom died) — I didn’t have any support,” Wiebe said. “Her kids are so beautiful they had this amazing mom and I think it would be amazing if Peter could be there so they don’t go trying to fill that void in other places.”
The fundraisers $30,000 goal, Lavenia said, is meant to cover past hospital bills, the memorial costs and the cost of living for as long as Peter needs to spend time with his children.
Peter said he commutes to Calgary for work and this money will allow him to stay home for a while to be there for his family.
“I’d be able to stay more with the kids,” Peter said. “I want to take care of them myself.”
Lavenia said Wiebe didn’t tell her friends she was sick.
“She didn’t tell us when she was sick,” Lavenia said. “It was a real shock.”
The fundraiser ends on Jan. 31 and as of press time, the campaign as raised $2,010 Lavenia still needs to raise $27,990 to reach their goal. Currently they have nine supporters the donations range from $15 to $1,000, though Lavenia said every dollar counts.
“She was the most amazing person,” Lavenia added. “Every time we were together we clicked. She had a great life. She was a great Mom — she gave me some great advice with my daughter.”
Anyone can donate to the cause by going to youcaring.com and search for Tina Wiebe. The campaign is called Helping The Family of Beautiful Tina Wiebe.