Courtney Render (far right) and her family have raised over $350,000 so far
Two cycles of chemotherapy, four weeks of radiation, a stem cell transplant and drug treatments were supposed to help the now 22-year-old resident get her cancer under control and her life back on track. But after her latest relapse, an expensive stem cell transplant that is not available in Canada may be her last option.
For Courtney Render and her family, the campaign to raise awareness and the $600,000 necessary to fund an allogeneic stem cell transplant in the United States is a matter of life and death.
Friends, family and community members have raised over $350,000 for the Cure for Courtney campaign since Render was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2009.
Back then, she was just an average second year student attending McGill University in Montreal. She had to drop out when it was discovered what was lurking behind a bout of night sweats and feeling ill.
“It was definitely rough. I had standard chemotherapy,” says Render. “That took the summer. I was excited to be done and to move on with my life. And then we found out the cancer did come back.”
She then went on to receive even more treatments, including higher-level chemotherapy, radiation and a transplant of her own stem cells.
Today, the Render family attributes the success they have had thus far — both monetary and moral — to a united effort put on by friends, family and their community.
A recent fundraising event on June 13 at the Avenue Banquet Hall saw over 60 volunteers come out to lend a hand, not counting those who made donations.
Currently, Render is with her father and sister at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md. Render is going through the preliminary medical tests necessary before her 24-year-old sister Hailey can donate stem cells that could potentially save her younger sister.
Render says knowing that Hailey may be the key to her survival warms her heart.
“It’s kind of a surreal thing. But it’s amazing to know that my sister, one of my closest family members, my best friend, is able to do this for me,” she says. “I know she’s really happy that it could be her, too.”
When Hailey found out that her sister had cancer, she said the news rocked the family.
“My biggest fear from a child has always been a family member, particularly a sibling or a parent, getting cancer,” says Hailey. “Finding out was probably the worst news I’ve ever gotten in my entire life.”
However, the ordeal seems to have drawn the women together closer than ever.
“She’s my number one priority,” says Hailey. “It’s what our family is all about. It’s teamwork and being there for her.”
Render’s family will be there to support her throughout the stem cell procedure.
All the while, Render remains optimistic that she will beat her cancer.
“I know I’m in the right hands and I’m definitely very positive about this procedure,” she says. “I know it’s definitely what I have to have done.”
The Cure for Courtney campaign is still far from over.
The Render family continues to call upon the community at large for donations to meet their $600,000 goal.
The Post urges those who wish to make a donation to visit TheCureForCourtney.com.