Wednesday, 03 June 2015 14:58

Burstall couple with son who has brain cancer gets help from Facebook friends

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The photographs of Alexander Sox show a happy, three-year-old boy with his parents Landon and Amy Sox from Burstall.


Trouble is, there is a lot of pain behind the cute grins of the toddler. There are photos of “Zander” in ambulances, hospital beds and holding one of his favourite toys.
After a lot of work by his parents in getting him the right diagnosis from physicians, it was determined Zander had brain cancer. He is now in the Calgary Children’s Hospital. It is quite an expense for the family to make trips or stay in that city.
It’s an uphill battle both from a devastatingly emotional standpoint, but also a fiscal one.
A group of friends from a couple of Facebook parent groups who know Amy decided they wanted to help them out the only way they could and an online fundraising auction has been created. It will run June 26-28 through Facebook. People will be able to view photos and bid on items. An event has been created titled “Operation Zander!!!”. More information and where to bid will be posted on the event as it becomes available. If anyone has questions, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
Melissa Skow, a spokesperson for the group of moms leading the charge to help the Sox family says they decided to act when they heard what was wrong.
“Watching the Soxs through their son’s brain cancer treatments is a hard one for many of us. Most of us ladies that hang out together and know the Sox family have children the same age or close to Zander,” explains Skow. “The family, especially Zander, are constantly on many of our minds. He is a little super hero and a fighter. We can not imagine what the family is going through. Amy and her husband are two of the strongest people we know.”
A few days before his third birthday, Zander started to show signs of illness. After not getting anywhere in Medicine Hat, he was diagnosed April 25 with a tumour on his cerebellum and later was found to have smaller tumours in his brain and his entire length of spine. It was also later discovered he has medulloblastoma — a malignant primary brain tumor. He has been getting chemotherapy and radiation treatment to save him from paralysis.
How the Sox family and the generous group of women from southeast Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan came together is interesting. Many of them have never even met, but shared their love of parenting and cloth diapers.
A Facebook group started around 3.5 years ago for cloth diapering. Once it became larger, a small group of them started a new group with about 40 moms in it.
“This is our “go-to” place. We share pictures of our kids, what’s going on in life and are there for support when someone needs us the most,” explains Skow. “We are all very close to each other and some of us have never even met in person. Amy started to post some updates asking for advice for Zander when she thought he had the flu. When the hospitals couldn’t find anything wrong, her mommy instincts kicked in and they took him up to ACH. She started giving us updates in the group and then went on to make a page to update her friends and family. It can be found on Facebook and is called ‘Prayers for Alexander Sox.’”
The upcoming fundraiser isn’t the first time the group has helped others. This group of women started up a group on Facebook called “Operation Christmas Cheer.”
The purpose behind it was to sponsor a family from the Southeast Alberta Women’s Shelter and help them have the most enjoyable Christmas possible. They started an auction in 2013 to help raise funds with help from many donations from people and businesses. They raised an amazing amount and bought everything plus more on the family’s wish list.
In 2014, they decided to go bigger and since “Operation Christmas Cheer “ was such a success, decided to adopt two families from the women’s shelter. Again, people and businesses donated auction items and they were more than able to fulfill both families wish lists.
“We really like the idea of an auction because both the person bidding and the cause we are raising funds for receive something in return. We know that the Sox family has a lot to deal with right now since they will be in Calgary for at least the next six months for treatments,”explains Skow. “A few ladies that either helped with or participated in ‘Operation Christmas Cheer’ thought it would be great to start ‘Operation Zander!!!’ to help raise funds for the family.
“The event was created 24 hours ago (May 31) and the donations are coming in like crazy. We are thrilled to be able to do this for the Sox family.”
The online auction will run June 26 at 12 p.m. until June 28 at 12 p.m. All the auction items will be posted into a group album on Facebook. The items will have item numbers and minimum starting bids. Once the auction opens people can place bids on the item(s) they would like to purchase. Bids will go up in $1 increments.
Once the auction is closed, the buyer has 24 hours to paypal or emt the funds to an email address or the item will go to the next highest bidder.
“We would like to raise as much as possible for the family because every little bit will help them during this time for them,” adds Skow.
Besides the auction there is another way to contribute with a direct electronic GoFundMe account at: http://gofundme.com/t2zbxg.

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor