An active volunteer and fundraiser for the Alberta Cancer Foundation, Allison Wusaty tells the story of her brother and her reason for being involved with the Foundation.
Allison’s brother, Andrew, was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 30. He underwent four brain surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and received care at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre. “He had an excellent relationship with his oncology team,” Allison reports. She further describes Andrew’s personal bonds with certain nurses, doctors, and surgeons and their positive impact on him.
Sadly, over ten years, the cancer grew more serious, reaching its peak in 2019. “He had glioblastoma,” Allison explained. “It was suddenly terminal.” Andrew passed away in March of that year. He left behind his wife, Deserae, and two sons. Archer was a newborn baby and Pryce was 4-years-old. His parents and sister were also devastated. “Our family has a hole without him” she says.
Allison recalls feeling helpless and uncertain about what she could do for her brother. “Cancer of a loved one is a very overwhelming and emotional process” she explains. “It affected Andrew and also the whole family.”
Together with her parents, nephews and sister-in-law, Allison has found fundraising is a beautiful way to honor her brother. The family is motivated to help others who are experiencing cancer.
Recently, Andrew’s sons, Pryce, 8 and Archer, 4, created their own company called “Wu’s Salts”, selling 100 bags of bath salts in one month and donating their earnings to the Alberta Cancer Foundation. It was a family project, with Andrew’s wife, Deserae, even looking after the marketing and photography.
Allison emphasizes, “It’s been important to have the kids involved and have conversations with them about why we fundraise”.
The family understands that cancer impacts everyone, whether personally or through other people in their lives. “That is why we fundraise,” she says.
“Cancer touches everybody. [The Alberta Cancer Foundation] is such an important organization for that reason. You really don’t know how complex cancer is until someone close to you is affected. There are so many parts to cancer…getting to your appointments, managing your emotional and physical health, maintaining relationships, managing your treatment plan, picking up your prescriptions – it’s so difficult and you don’t really know until you’re in it. All of these things that the Alberta Cancer Foundation can help with are just so meaningful for people when they’re struggling so much.”