Gary deVries may have moved away from the Alberni Valley for work a few years ago, but his former community has rallied around him at one of the most important times of his life.
DeVries relocated his young family to Kelso, Washington State in 2008 for a job, but has many family members and close friends remaining in the Alberni Valley.
Life was good—he had a job he liked, was involved in his community and his church, and had just fulfilled a goal of running a half marathon on Dec. 6 when he began to experience headaches.
After almost three weeks of headaches that extra-strength Tylenol and Robaxacet weren’t touching, he went to the hospital. Two days later surgeons removed a mass from his brain and called it cancer.
This week he began a regiment of radiation and chemotherapy treatment to get rid of the tiny piece that surgeons couldn’t remove.
DeVries’ sister-in-law, Cheryl Currie, said the community response in Port Alberni has been unbelievable. “You don’t realize how many people are there for you until you need them. It touches your heart,” she said.
Many comments have been made on social media from deVries’ former slopitch teammates and friends north of the border.
DeVries’ former church, the Christian Reform Church on Roger Street, formed a prayer circle for him, as did his church in Kelso, some of his co-workers and his sister in Maple Ridge.
DeVries said this faith is carrying him through his recovery.
“It’s unbelievable. The support of all my friends and family, the overpowering of prayers is absolutely beautiful,” he said.
“I just know God has a plan B for me and it’s not to be beaten by cancer.”
There are two fundraisers set up to help the deVries family with Gary’s medical expenses: a fund at the bottle depot on Fourth Avenue in Port Alberni, and people may donate their returnables to that fund. There is also an online fundraiser at www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-gary-in-the-fight-of-his-life-team-beat-brain-cancer/293881.