Residents in Gibbons, Alta. didn’t need a wake up call on Saturday morning.
Dallan Yardley and his friends rode their bikes through the town about 40 kilometres north of Edmonton, chanting the 10-year-old’s name to raise awareness for a good cause.
He has Langerhans cell histiocytosis, a rare form of cancer that causes lesions and tumours all over his body.
It’s been hard for the family, with visits to the Stollery Children’s Hospital every three weeks for chemotherapy.
“It sucks — chemo and stuff,” Dallan said.
But he’s staying strong with the support of his community. He hit the streets with his friends Saturday to ask for donations.
“The money is for if I need to go for chemo treatments, we get to pay for parking and get the treatment I need,” he said.
Dallan’s mom, Rennie Yardley, said the support is overwhelming.
“I’ve just … been an emotional wreck for a long time, so seeing something like this is just kind of over the top,” she said.
“It gets everybody’s mind off of what’s going on and … it’s about having fun and, you know, puts a smile on his face. And really, that’s what matters.”
She said her son is an amazing kid, even in the face of the challenges he faces every day.
“He just rolls with it. He just takes every day just one step at a time,” she said.
“He has the most amazing personality. He’s kind and he’s giving and he worries about other people before he worries about himself.”
Small town, huge hearts
Terry Kopp helped organize the Day for Dallan.
This is the second year Gibbons residents have helped a family in need, after Kopp started the Small Town, Big Hearts fundraiser to support a friend with breast cancer.
“We’re a small town and we have huge hearts,” Kopp said. “Everybody comes together no matter who you are, where you’re from. We all just bond together and we make sure that everybody is supported and loved in this town when it’s needed.”
This is just another example of what a small town can do.– Desmond Derouin
Some businesses in Gibbons have collection boxes to help the family cover expenses associated with Dallan’s medical care.
The Mainstreet Public House restaurant is one business that chipped in, organizing a Silent auction and selling Dallan hoodies and burgers.
“It is a smaller community — a couple thousand people, but that’s the word there: community,” restaurant co-owner Desmond Derouin said. “This is just another example of what a small town can do.”