How to Save a Life

“Timber Wolves” Graphite-Wash Drawing, 48.26x63.5cm (19x25") LE Print

“Timber Wolves” Graphite-Wash Drawing, 48.26×63.5cm (19×25″) LE Print

Here’s a name for you; Tammy “Tamara” Mitchell. I really don’t know her. I’m a complete stranger to her, and she’s a complete stranger to me. I happen to be merely acquainted with someone she knows quite well, who has told me a little about her and a considerable challenge that she has to face.

Tamara is a Certified Personal Support Worker (PSW) for First Class Home Care. For anyone not familiar with what a PSW does, it is one of those unglamorous, stressful but fulfilling jobs that people of a certain character in our communities volunteer for. They take care of people who have difficulty taking care of themselves. Many of those people in need are the elderly; our beloved parents and grandparents.

PSW’s are professional strangers who help our own loved ones when it even becomes tremendously difficult for us to help them ourselves. PSW’s accept a responsibility to ensure that a high standard or care is always given so that someone can live . . . or die, with as much dignity as possible. For this, PSW’s can become like our own family members.

So who is there for the PSW’s when they need help? You see, it turns out that quite recently Tamara – a single mother of three (Andrew, Mikenzi and Taiyah); two of which are young children, whom she has to take care of when she’s not taking care of others, was diagnosed with stage III multiple myeloma. This is a type of cancer of the blood. I’m tempted to call it a form of leukemia because of its blood connection but I guess that the finer medical research details of how the ailment occurs, what it does and how it may be treated defines that it is a whole other beast. I’ve only just started reading up on it online, so I won’t try to go into those details. I just want to briefly spread the word that now it is Tamara who needs the help from her community of family, friends and of course strangers.


First Class Home Care will be hosting a fundraiser on Tamara’s behalf, and it will include a silent auction, games, raffle prizes, door prizes, entertainment, drinks, food and wine.

  • Date: May 3, 2014
  • Time: 7:00PM – 1AM
  • Location: Hamilton Filipino Community Centre, 1275 King Street East, Hamilton, ON, Canada
  • Admittance tickets: $15.00

Raffle packages will be available for $30.00 at the door.

Please support this cause, and wish Tamara well from wherever you are. If you are in or near Hamilton, Ontario and you have anything to donate towards the effort or would like to purchase a ticket to the event, please call Donna Hearty at (905) 818-8827, Terry-Lynne Rade at (905) 875-6950 or Russell Price at (647) 269-1897. You can also e-mail Russell through the contact form below.

Monetary donations to the TAMARA MITCHELL CANCER BENEFIT can be deposited at any TD Canada Trust.

  • Account: Tammy Mitchell 102-6325844

I will contribute fine art toward to auction.

Help Tamara live with dignity.



12 thoughts on “How to Save a Life

    • I have no idea. I’m still learning about this form of cancer, and I have yet to meet Tamara — if I ever get the chance, to ask her myself. I’ve only spoken to her once very briefly by phone. I’d like to interview and photographer her.

      All I know is that any prognosis of stage III cancer is not good but there can still be hope for remission with treatment.

  1. This is very sad. I can’t be there but she’s definitely in my thoughts and prayers. It’s always a scary thought – who will help those who help others? It sort of gives off the idea that sometimes some of us will be forgotten, left alone or that there will be no one capable of lending them a helping hand. She sounds like a strong woman, I hope she gets through this positively and lots of support from those who love her.

    • I’m hearing that they are receiving many good donations to the benefit like cameras and so on, so I hope many attend, buy raffle tickets and bid in the auction.

  2. An important share. you’re kind-hearted, Allan. I’ve sensed that since.
    I used to volunteer at our community hostipal walking the ill on their wheelchair. I loved the stories they share. I bet Tamara has something interesting to share for those who will help.

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