A Yellowknife firefighter being treated for an unusual form of cancer is “overwhelmed and unbelievably thankful” after donors raised more than $40,000 to help, a friend says.
Dave de Lugt set up an online fundraiser after firefighter Greg Pratt was diagnosed with a rare type of bile duct cancer. Pratt has been receiving treatment in Edmonton since mid-December.
By Saturday afternoon, one day after its creation, the GoFundMe page – which had a goal of $10,000 – had reached $40,500 and counting from nearly 300 separate donations.
De Lugt told Cabin Radio the response to Pratt’s plight had been “overwhelming.”
“We know that Greg has a pretty big impact on everyone around him but it’s been way bigger than any of us could have expected,” he said.
The money will help Pratt and partner Chrissie Carrigan to cover some travel expenses and get “the best treatment and care possible” for him, De Lugt added.
“The donations, of course, are incredibly nice,” he said. “From their perspective, it’s really the thought that counts, and they can’t believe how many people are rallying behind them to help Greg through this. So a big thank-you from both of them to everybody.”
De Lugt said Pratt began developing symptoms such as indigestion last summer. Tests revealed a mass thought to be on his pancreas, a diagnosis that later changed to a form of cancer named cholangiocarcinoma.
“He’s had a bunch of surgeries. There have been some drains put in his abdomen and so on. Biopsies have been done and we’re waiting for some results, but it’s thought to be this pretty rare form of bile duct cancer,” said De Lugt.
“He’s just been discharged from hospital for the first time in three weeks. He’s in a lot of discomfort still. He’s stable, he is in good spirits – as always, somehow, as positive as hell.
“They’re just waiting to meet with the cancer clinic and figure out what the next steps are going to be over the next few months.”