The community is continuing to rally around 12-year-old Emma Grace Smith, whose cancer has taken a financial toll on the family, with a hockey game up next.
The old-timers game and surrounding event is called An Afternoon for Emma, set for June 11 at Pearkes arena from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Smith has had brain and spine cancer since a 2014 relapse following her initial recovery from brain cancer, which she was diagnosed for in 2012. Several times the diagnosis has pulled Emma’s father Darrell away from his overseas work as a project manager for submarine cable laying. With Emma’s worsening condition (she is too weak to undergo radiation and chemotherapy treatments) he has committed to being with the family, and unable to find a means of work in the meantime. The financial toll has caught up, and the community has rallied around the Smith family to help make ends meet.
The name for the hockey game, An Afternoon for Emma, is consistent with the recent Evening for Emma at Oak Bay High on May 29. The evening included a series of dance performances from most of the studios in town, as well as a silent auction that pulled in more than $13,000 for the Smith family.
Jenna Holmes spearheaded the Evening for Emma. The former dance teacher was once at the same studio Emma attended.
“The first time Emma was diagnosed with cancer the studio did a fundraiser event,” Holmes said. “Then it did an event the second time. This time, I wanted to do something again, and I literally looked up every single business in town, sent a big email and was shocked by the amount of people that responded.”
The donations were generous and from all types of businesses in Greater Victoria.
WestJet chipped in a pair of tickets to ‘anywhere it flies,’ which sold for $1,300. Phillips Brewing donated two tickets to the Backyard Weekender (July 8-10). There were restaurant donations, premium hotel stays, and all kinds of goods and services.
The event packed the new Dave Dunnet Community Theatre, with only about 50 tickets available to sell at the door, which they did.
“I’m overwhelmed by the amount of support received last night,” Holmes said. “Nearly everything sold at retail or more than retail value.”
Holmes also said she received positive feedback from the dance studios, as it is rare to get them all together for something that isn’t a competition.
“It would not have been possible without the donors, the volunteers (20), Oak Bay and Lansdowne schools, the theatre manager, the community at large who came together, the Oak Bay and Lansdowne principals who MC’d the event, and the dancers from the studios that donated their time to participate,” Holmes said.
The Smith family’s ongoing campaign is online at gogetfunding.com/helpemma.