Durham Region teenager raises thousands of dollars for legacy fund to honour her mother

Click to play video: 'A Durham teen is raising money to help honour her mother’s legacy'
A Durham teen is raising money to help honour her mother’s legacy
The sixteen year-old has created a legacy fund for her mother who has terminal cancer. Her mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic cancer earlier this year. Frazer Snowdon has more. – Dec 30, 2020

A Durham Region teenager has raised thousands of dollars for Lakeridge Health’s Cancer Centre.

She has done so in hopes of supporting the very place where her mother is currently fighting the disease. The sixteen year-old, Brooklyn Burger-Jacobs, says this year has been especially hard after her mother was diagnosed with cancer.

“It’s been difficult. It’s been really, really hard,” says Burger-Jacobs.

“But I think it’s brought us closer together as a family. I think because we haven’t really see as many people, we’ve had to lean on each other for support.”

It was just a few months ago that Brooklyn’s mom, Kelly, was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. What made it worse for Brooklyn was she couldn’t even be there for her mother when the news came down.

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“It was probably the worst moment of my entire life,” says Brooklyn.

“She had to unfortunately face that news alone, which was really sad. I heard the news when she got home.”

Her mother has been getting treatment at the R.S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre at Lakeridge Health. Brooklyn wanted to help and started an endowment fund for Lakeridge, in honour of her mother.

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“I knew that I didn’t want anyone else (to) feel that pain and just watch such a horrible thing happening,” she said.

The teen then asked her father what she could do, which resulted in starting a fundraiser for the centre.

“I think my main goal with the fund is to bring quality cancer care close to home,” Burger-Jacobs said, “so people don’t have to drive long distances and they can stay closer to their families.”

Her uncle, Ron Compton, is helping the Burger-Jacobs family pay for the treatment. He says, knowing how lucky they are to be in that position, having someone like Brooklyn raise money like this will help someone who needs it.

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“When someone gets diagnosed with cancer, it’s the family that’s dealing with the sickness,” he says.

“For Brooklyn to get something like this is in place for them to deal with it together is amazing and we are really proud of her.”

Her mother, who was unable to speak for the story, says she is grateful for the help.

Brooklyn says it’s her mom’s personality that made her who she is today.

“She is such an inspiration. She’s pushed me to be a better person every day. I cannot describe in words how much I love her,” she says.

“My mom is one of the most amazing people I’ve met in my entire life. She is kind and she’s caring.”

An ambitious goal of $25,000 was set and has been surpassed by thousands. Now it sits at more than $30,000 and is still climbing.

“I’m so grateful to everyone who has donated, everyone who has reached out.”

Lakeridge says the endowment fund will go towards a number of different costs within the cancer centre. Steven MacDonald, director of development with the Lakeridge Health Foundation, says the fund will also gain interest, giving them a nest egg to help them every year.

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“The support of this fund is going to cover cancer care across the board, ranging from diagnostic imaging to work in the lab through surgery,” says MacDonald.

“It’s going to have a significant impact, year over year over year.”

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