For the second time in her short life, second grader Paisley Choate is battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She is currently receiving treatment at Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital in Spokane, preparing to receive a bone marrow transplant in Seattle in early 2020. And while there is nothing anyone can do to lessen the gravity of what her family is going through, there are literally thousands of people who have pitched in to carry a piece of the burden in some small way.
Anyone who has ever had surgery, been a hospital patient for any length of time or dealt with a chronic medical condition knows that multiple bills coming from multiple departments is the norm. Treating cancer carries its own massive price tag. Corey Choate, Paisley's dad, said that the therapy needed to prepare her for bone marrow transplant will cost well over $1 million. Even on the other side, after cancer has been defeated, Paisley will require regular checkups for 15 more years. And the cost doesn’t end there. Travel to the hospital, lost time from work and other non-medical expenses in addition to bills from doctors, hospitals and labs add up to become a huge financial burden. Even with medical insurance, the financial toll is mind-blowing.
And yet, despite the details of this situation that are no doubt overwhelming, the first thing Corey Choate said to me was how incredibly blessed and thankful they are. The help of the community has been critical in making it through this.
Last year after Paisley’s initial diagnosis, the Bonners Ferry Eagles Club held a fundraiser breakfast, and Tony of Two Tones Cafe held a benefit dinner. Since her recent relapse, Chad at the Naples General Store is having a raffle, and Nancy Croll is helping with donations through her store. Each one of those fundraisers, of course, is only as successful as the people making donations, coming to eat, buying raffle tickets, etc. Without a doubt, a tribe is needed to come together in a situation of need like this.
This is one of those times where a small town shows that they have the force of a small army. The Paisley Choate Online Auction Fundraiser is a group on Facebook and has well over a 10th of the population of Boundary County involved. This fundraiser was started by the caring staff at Naples Elementary where Paisley attends when she isn’t receiving treatment. As of press time, approximately 250 items had been donated and the bidding reaching more than $20,000. Baked goods, handmade jewelry, spa services, plumbing labor, a room design makeover, oil changes, topsoil, a Texas lake tour, and an Okie Noodling trip are just a few of the creative donations. A couple of selfless individuals even donated huckleberries, huckleberry jam and huckleberry cheesecake! Though the auction has now ended, monetary donations can still be made at Mountain West Bank.
In a time where social media is the battlefield for opposing opinions, this was a refreshing and encouraging gift for our community to see each other’s generosity. My prayer is that each act of generosity or encouragement would be multiplied and that all of it added together, along with every other prayer lifted up on behalf of Paisley, would equal the one thing that her family needs more than anything: hope.
January 1, Iron Mike's will be hosting a Spin-A-Thon for Paisley Choate from 4:30 to 7:30pm. You can reserve your bike now at $10 for members and $20 for non-members.