Don Dunnigan was diagnosed with what he has been told is an incurable form of cancer. But he's not letting that bring him or his family down.
"It was something that came on really quickly, it wasn't something that developed over a long period of time. After his diagnosis, he just had this amazing attitude of being positive and wanting to beat it and it really carried our whole family forward in a really positive way of saying, 'yes this can happen.' I mean, there's cures everywhere and so at any point in time a cure was developed so we're holding onto that hope of it happening." Amanda Dunnigan, a daughter-in-law, explains.
Mantle B Cell Lymphoma is a rare form of blood cancer. Don is now going through the last round of chemotherapy. This brings the cancer down to a low enough level to bring him into what is considered remission. He would then go into isolation for a month at the Health Sciences Centre where they would remove his blood, treat it, regrow his cells so it's healthy, and then put it back in, which should hopefully help him to continue another 5 to ten years before the cancer would resurface.
"I think initially you kind of go through the denial process of 'oh this probably isn't really what it is and they probably have the diagnosis wrong' and then you go through the acceptance of 'okay, what are we going to do moving forward in a positive way to come to the reality of what's at hand.' And dad, he is the most resilient person you'll meet. Just last weekend he was helping a neighbour cut down trees. He has kept a positive attitude about it all and it's really helped the whole family keep a really positive attitude about the whole process and allowing us to talk about it openly with everyone and sharing the signs and symptoms with people."
The family has decided to put on a fundraising event called the Blood Cancer Bounce. They are teaming up with Sky Zone and Boston Pizza.
"Personally, to deal with it I needed to pour my energy into something really positive and also just to talk about him and to tell the story, and so that's why I decided to do the fundraiser."
The event is June 17 from 5:30-7:30 pm on Fathers Day weekend in honour of Don Dunnigan. The proceeds are going to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada to fund research and resources for families.
"A couple years ago I read an article that said that jumping was a really good way of releasing toxins from your lymphatic system it's sort of a way of developing a heart beat for your lymphatic system, so I thought what a better way to address blood cancer than by jumping."
Amanda believes a cure can be found for blood cancers such as the one her father-in-law suffers from, and that is why she believes it is so important to fund research to find the cure.
"Knowing that change will come is something you can really hold on to and put your faith into because eventually somebody across the world, it might not be you in your circumstance, but there will be something positive that will happen, and it could be you and it could be your family and that is something that we should work towards and hold onto that."