Red Deer is known for being a generous community and one local man is seeing that support firsthand.
Jase Nibourg, 33, was recently diagnosed with B Cell Lymphoma. Nearly two weeks ago after a seemingly minor incident while training with kettle bells, Nibourg went into the hospital with what he thought may have been a bruised or cracked sternum. He had a national competition coming up and wanted to get clearance to compete. After tests were conducted, a large tumour was found behind his sternum that is pressing against his heart. The cancer is quite aggressive and has spread into his entire chest cavity and into both of his lungs. He will begin chemotherapy in Calgary on Friday. Radiation may be a possibility down the road.
“It was a complete shock,” said Nibourg, of his diagnosis. “It was a little bit weird because I saw my chest x-ray and I saw the masses – I kind of knew – I had a sneaking suspicion and I had resolved my way through it. It was a good four hours between when I saw that chest x-ray and when I got my diagnosis.”
Shortly after his diagnosis, a GoFundMe page was set up for Nibourg and his family – his wife Michelle and their three children, Peyton, 9, Aiden, 6, and Damien, 2.
Within 10 days, close to $18,000 has been raised.
“I remember getting the news Friday at work,” said Michelle. “Everyone was in a lot of shock and I woke up the next morning and I had a link on my phone from Jase for the GoFundMe page. I clicked on the link and there was $50 there. I thought that it was really nice and very sweet and I thought maybe we would raise $300.
“I’ve really become speechless – how do you say thank you? It feels like it is just not enough. When we read the comments (on the GoFundMe page from donors) after a long, hard day – especially for me when all I did some days was sit and wait in hallways while he underwent tests – it really meant a lot in those moments. That is all I had to hold onto. Seeing the support come out of Red Deer is so huge and we really didn’t expect it. Jase and I are in awe of the support and we want to let everyone know how grateful we are.
“I think for Jase it puts power behind my words when I say we are all behind him. It gives him more fight which gives the family more hope.”
Jase added the support from Red Deerians is appreciated and overwhelming.
“It is hard to comprehend – especially the amount of anonymous donations or donations from people that I don’t know. Just the fact there are people that I have never met who would support me in this – it’s pretty touching – words can’t express it,” he said, adding the funds raised are all the more important as he owned and operated a personal training business and was self-employed which means he does not get paid leave. “Running my own business, I had no where else to fall back on, so it means that much more to my family.”
Michelle said the donations will be used for various things including to pay for any medical treatments or prescriptions that Jase may need that are not covered.
“Certainly some of it will also go to keeping us afloat. But my goal is to have the bulk of it go towards the treatments that he may need,” she said.
To donate, or to see Jase’s story, visit www.gofundme.com and search for ‘Jase & Michelle’.