This is the second massage fundraiser Jennifer Burton has put on in support of her sister and brother-in-law. (Photo submitted)

Massage fundraiser to help Vernon man battling cancer

This is the second fundraiser Jennifer Burton has organized in support of her brother-in-law, Carlos Thomas.

Last fall, Vernon locals Jocelyn and Carlos Thomas received devastating news. Carlos, a well-known, self-employed painter in town, was diagnosed with a rare form of throat cancer.

After months of referrals and uncertainty, he decided to move back to Mexico to undergo treatment. Hearing the news, much of Vernon began rallying behind the couple, donating to Go Fund Me projects and local fundraisers. One of the first efforts came from Jocelyn’s sister, Jennifer Burton.

Burton, a registered massage therapist, decided to hold a massage fundraiser in November to help pay for the expenses associated with treatment. She raised over $5,300.

Related: Vernon rallies around family battling throat cancer news

“Since the last fundraiser, lots has changed,” said Burton. “Carlos has had two rounds of chemotherapy in January, which shrunk his tumour significantly so they were able to go in for surgery in February and it went really well but he still has cancer in his throat so they’re going to treat that with radiation and that started this week.”

After the success of her first fundraiser last year, Burton has decided to host another similar event to help with the continuing costs associated with treatment.

“This fundraiser is going to be a bit smaller than last time,” she said. “It’ll be me and two other girls doing the massages and then, we’re also going to host a raffle instead of a bake sale.”

The event will be held May 4 (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and May 5 (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.) at Arise Chiropractic and Wellness in Vernon, unit 27. The event will be Cinco de Mayo themed. Those interested can sign up for a 30 minute massage for a minimum donation of $20 by emailing Burton at jenn.burton18@gmail.com. Any businesses interested in donating items for the raffle, can also reach Burton via email.

“It has been pretty hard but we’re trying to stay positive. Carlos came home for 10 days in March and it was nice to have him home because the kids and Jocelyn have been home here in Vernon since January,” she said. “The kids have been doing really well and they have lost some teeth and that’s the biggest thing they want to tell dad. It’s been pretty good but of course, some moments are harder than others.”

She also noted that because some of the hardest parts are associated with the financial aspect of being able to afford the treatment, she wants to thank the community for supporting them.

“We are just really grateful to the Vernon community for all their donations and the donations for the raffle. I went to businesses earlier this week collecting donations for the raffle and no one turned me down,” said Burton. “We’re just really grateful.”

Related: Vernon fundraisers help local family battling throat cancer

Related: Massage fundraiser already making a difference

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