August 14, 2014 2:33 pm
Updated: August 14, 2014 6:12 pm

Community raises money for Halifax couple diagnosed with cancer 3 days apart

HALIFAX – A community is coming together to raise funds for a married couple in Hammonds Plains who both received cancer diagnoses within days of each other.

Jeff and Jill MacDonald, who have three young children, are now both fighting the deadly disease.

Jill says the past two months have changed her life.

After having constant pain in her lower leg, a tumour was discovered. While awaiting results of a biopsy, her husband Jeff, to whom she’s been married for 15 years, received his own devastating news.

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“Three days before I received the official news that this was a malignant tumor, we received news that my husband had Stage 4 metastatic rectal cancer, so it was a really rough time,” she said.

Besides their own worries, the parents have their children — aged 12, 10 and 6 — to think about.

“It’s been a really rough few months, and we’re just sort of taking it day by day at this point,” Jill said.

“Our world has been thrown upside-down, and we’re just trying to maintain normalcy for our kids.”

An online page has been set up by family and friends to collect donations to help the couple.

MORE INFO: Visit the fundraising page here

Jill said she was against the idea at first, feeling uncomfortable by taking anyone’s money, but family members convinced her to let others help during a difficult time.

Donations have been pouring in since the campaign began. As of Thursday afternoon, it had raised more than $62,000.

“I just can’t understand how people can care so much to give their money to help us,” she said.

Jill, who’s an elementary school teacher, said one of her students even donated his tooth-fairy money.

While the monetary donations will help the family while Jill and Jeff undergo treatment, the personal messages people have sent are making a world of difference to both of them. Jill said she’s thankful for each and every one of them.

“The strength that it’s given me is unbelievable. The messages people are leaving on that site, I read them every single night, over and over,” she said. “The prayers and the words of perseverance — people are writing ‘fight, fight, you have to fight this.'”

“I know that that’s what’s going to help me get through.”

© Shaw Media, 2014

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