This 52 story will be slightly different than my others, but it won't take you long to realize why the Lindsey's have an amazing story to tell.
Initially, when I set up the interview with Chris Lindsey I wasn't thinking about interviewing him as a 52 story candidate, in fact, I struggled a little bit on how best to portray their situation.
You see, as a news reporter we get many requests to cover stories but we are restricted sometimes if it sounds like advertising, one-sided or for personal benefit. But that afternoon, there was something about this particular couple that made me stop and really listen to their journey.
I had never met the Lindsey's, but I knew of their company Jayden Images through sponsorship of events I have been part of in the past. As someone who has knocked on the doors of plenty of Cochrane businesses, I am always awe stuck how quickly and without hesitation, many small business owners step up to help when a call comes in.
But what happens when one of our community supporters finds themselves on the flip side of the coin?! This is where this 52 story will begin.
2018 started off like any other year for Chris Lindsey and his family, up until they hit the month of May. Experiencing some on again/off again side pain since March, Chris finally headed into Canmore for a CT scan and never gave a second thought to receiving 'bad news'.
With his family thinking of wrapping up the work week with ice cream, one call would change everything. As Chris was returning to Cochrane, a phone call regarding his results would send him off to the Foothills Hospital. Not knowing what news was in store for his family, Chris would eventually check out of the hospital minus a spleen and going home with a cancer diagnosis.
It wasn't until mid-June that the Lindsey's learned how serious Chris' diagnosis actually was. Diagnosed with an aggressive form of Diffuse Large B Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, Chris entered into chemotherapy treatment as quickly as he could.
While a cancer diagnosis is devasting at any age, it is not something most of us in our 40s have even thought about. Many of us in that age group are just starting to worry about our parent's health and not assuming the 'C word' would become a topic of everyday conversation. Throughout our conversation, I realized how unprepared financially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically most of us early 40-year-olds actually are. In fact, I couldn't help but think of myself...would I be prepared, how would I tell my children, would I be strong enough to fight?
As I looked at the Lindsey's you can tell they are doing the best they can with the news they have received. Scared as to what the future holds, they both do their best being strong for each other. Not wanting to scare their daughter Jayden who is only six, Chris and Nenita have chosen to keep her dad's diagnosis under wraps for now but are prepared to have that conversation if need be. "Pretty much the moment we knew what we were dealing with I got in touch with her teacher at the time, counsellor, my local group of mom's and said this is what's going on but we're not telling her the cancer word at all. We have it set up that if she ever needs to talk to someone, it has been set up since day one."
Thinking about their financial future has also added tremendous stress to an already stressful situation. While Chris says his employer has been incredibly supportive, his company only offers short-term disability and that is about to run out. "It has been a struggle knowing I was the only income in the house. With my career, we've been able to afford the fact that my wage supplemented her's (Nenita), so my employer has graciously taken her on to help backfill some of my position by doing some of the paperwork and administrative stuff to help out."
With disability running out, the Lindsey's put themselves out on a limb and started a 'Go Fund Me' page. While I could have initially written this story about a couple needing funds...it is so much more than that. It is fear of an uncertain future, disappointment that you can't be and do more, a realization that life can change in a heartbeat, and being okay with not being okay.
"We went into a little bit of a panic. I lost my friend to prostate four years ago and every single memory is brought back. I remember sitting in the room when we had to tell his son that his dad was gone...It's hard, I don't want to lose him and I am not saying that's his story but it scares me. I try not to compare stories because I know we caught this early, we got it fast, he has a really good team behind him in the hospital and we've got a wicked community. I don't know half the people that talk to us...it's just really humbling. You feel really selfish because you think what can I do for you, so it's hard to just sit back and take the love."
I sat with the Lindsey's that afternoon and I couldn't help but be incredibly moved as we laughed and shared some tears. "Every day that I wake up is a grateful day. I was a workaholic and my girl's had to put up with me working 14 to 16 hours a day, I am super gracious that I've been able to get this time."
Thank you, Chris and Nenita Lindsey for allowing me into your lives...just a little...and giving me the opportunity to tell your story in my own way.
If you can spare even $5 to help one of our own community givers, I encourage you to do so HERE. There is no doubt in my mind that this Cochrane family will pay it forward many times over. "When we are done and past this and he has rung that bell for his last treatment...we already give but it's going to be bigger. We get that giving isn't just financial...lending that ear is sometimes all that somebody needs."
Chris should hear results at some point this week as to how his body is responding to treatment and what his future course looks like.