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Praying for Taya Grimes

Posted on 23/02/2010 12:00am

100 Mile House Free Press
Praying for Taya Grimes
By Ken Alexander
February 23, 2010

108 Mile Ranch resident Taya Grimes, 16, who is suffering from acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), is currently staying at BC Children's Hospital and undergoing treatment, including chemo-therapy.

While her mother, Sharmaine, has been at Taya's side day and night ever since her daughter was airlifted to the Vancouver facility, friends are raising funds to help the family through these difficult times - both emotionally and financially.

Hiedi Mack, who knows Taya through the girls youth group she runs, says the Grade 11 Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School (PSO) student started feeling unwell and tired in early December.

"She went in and got some blood tests done and it was diagnosed very quickly. She was airlifted to BC Children's Hospital [on Dec. 5] and they started treatment right away."

She adds Taya, a PSO senior girls' basketball team member, was very active. "She was always on the go, a member of the wrestling team and very outgoing."

Mack says Taya just finished her second round of chemotherapy, and when her blood cell counts are good and she's feeling OK, she says Taya gets to leave the hospital on day passes.

"Taya and Sharmaine take the bus or SkyTrain to go downtown shopping or to a movie. Last week, they took in some of the sights and sounds of the Olympic festivities."

Taya is expected to be in the hospital for six to eight months, and that leaves dad, Tom Coffin, and brother, James Last, in charge of keeping the home fires burning.

Gwen Janzen, who is one of Sharmaine's best friends, says it is a financial struggle for the family, so that is when they decided to do some fundraising.

She adds they started by putting a jar out for a Valentines basket draw at the 108 Supermarket, and since then, they have placed donations jars at businesses throughout 100 Mile.

"The community has been amazing. So far, with all of the jars, we've raised $1,266 and with the other cash donations coming in, the total is around $3,000."

Now, Mack and Janzen are planning a fundraising talent show and silent auction, called Cariboo has Talent for Taya. It will be held at Cariboo Christian Life Fellowship at 108 on April 17.

Mack says they already have received "tons of great stuff" donated for the auction. "My house is full of auction items."

Now, she is working on the talent piece of the fundraiser. "People, who want to be part of the talent show, can call me at 250-791-5730 if they want more information or want to sign up."

Janzen says people should also get in on their raffle for a chance at some great prizes. "Only 2,500 tickets are being sold at $2 each, and the draw will be at PS0 at noon on April 1."