Salt Spring has often reached deep to help community members in medical distress attend to their situation without adding a financial crisis to their problems.
Islanders are being asked to step up once again to support Dawn Tarrabain and family, whose lives have been urned upside down by her ALS progression.
Tarrabain is known to many in the community as a former front-end supervisor at Country Grocer, where she made an impression on customers and staff alike for her upbeat and kind personality. She has not worked for the past year, however, and was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in April 2017.
A GoFundMe campaign started last May raised $18,000 but fell short of the $25,000 goal. Supporters are now hoping to kick the campaign back into action, with the family’s needs expected to extend much further than the initial target.
“Dawn is now in an electronic wheelchair. Her family is doing their best, but now they need the community’s help,” reads a plea from the Copper Kettle Society, a local group that helps islanders in need.
The ALS Society of Canada explains that ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) gradually paralyzes people because the brain is no longer able to communicate with the body’s muscles, including those required to swallow and breathe. There is no cure and few treatment options.
According to the GoFundMe page, Tarrabain first noticed something was wrong when she started having numbness in her lower legs. Eventually she required leg braces to help stabilize her walking, then her arms starting going numb and she had trouble with her speech. She has now lost much of her mobility and ability to speak.
“The financial burden will be enormous for this family and will only continue to get worse in the future. There will be many ferry trips to off-island appointments, adaptive equipment and communication equipment needed to help Dawn in her daily needs,” the GoFundMe campaign story states.
Tarrabain, her husband Todd Tamboline and son Jacob are now facing additional pressures because they are losing their rental housing at the end of April and need to find a new home that is wheelchair accessible.
People can contribute to the GoFundMe page under “Dawn’s Rally against ALS” and contribute their grocery receipts to Country Grocer’s Save a Tape program.