Community rallies for girl fighting bone cancer

A bottle drive held Saturday in Abbotsford has resulted in well over $10,000 in donations for a local family

Greta Loewen of Abbotsford is battling a a rare form of bone cancer.

Greta Loewen of Abbotsford is battling a a rare form of bone cancer.

It took four five-ton trucks and a semi-trailer to haul away all the cans and bottles collected on Saturday to raise funds for an Abbotsford family going through a challenging time.

So many bottles were collected that a total dollar value is still being tallied, but is estimated to be well over $10,000.

The fundraiser was held on West Railway Street at HOFA Art Supplies and Framing, which is owned by Heather Munro and Tim Loewen.

Their five-year-old daughter Greta was diagnosed in mid-December with a rare form of bone cancer known as Ewing’s sarcoma and is currently undergoing treatment at BC Children’s Hospital.

The couple are unable to work as they spend time with Greta – whose treatment is expected to take about 10 months – and juggle caring for their three other children.

The bottle drive was part of ongoing fundraising efforts to support the family’s day-to-day expenses and any treatment costs for Greta that aren’t available in Canada.

About two dozen volunteers helped to sort the bottles and cans as they came in throughout the day.

The trucking to haul away the bottles was donated, as was temporary warehouse storage space.

Regional Recycling in Abbotsford donated $500 and has volunteered to do the rest of the sorting throughout the week.

Heather and Tim were unable to be at the bottle drive on Saturday, but Heather said the family is “overwhelmed and amazed” by the support.

“Thank you, everyone, for coming together and doing something truly unbelievable. Our hearts are warmed and our fears calmed by the big hug that you gave us … I have never been so moved. The whole world needs this kind of love,” she said.

An account has been set up at Regional Recycling at 750 Riverside St. in Abbotsford for those who still wish to donate to the bottle drive.

The public is welcome to sort their empties there and then donate the refund to the “Greta’s Team” account.

An online crowdfunding site is also raising money for the family and can be accessed at http://tinyurl.com/l6gybtz. More than $23,000 has so far been raised toward the $50,000 goal. Information on other fundraisers to support the family will be posted on Facebook under a page titled “Greta’s Team.”

(Photo below: The bottle drive held Saturday at HOFA Art Supplies and Framing in Abbotsford involved numerous volunteers helping to sort the donations.)