Fundraiser for local woman slated


Friends and family of Alana Fyfe are hoping the community can come out this Saturday for a breakfast fundraiser to help out the district resident who will be undergoing extensive surgery later this month.
From 8-11 a.m. this Saturday (Sept. 11) at the Couchiching Multi-use Facility, the $5 a plate breakfast fundraiser will include a meal of eggs, bacon/sausage, hash browns, oatmeal, and juice.
“Despite Alana’s illness—she’s always maintained a really positive attitude, and I think that really helps a lot,” said Mitaanjigamiing First Nation Chief Janice Henderson, who is also Fyfe’s sister.
Funds raised from the breakfast will go towards helping support Fyfe—who has been diagnosed with Wegener’s Granulomatisis—and her family as she undergoes surgery later this month.
“We have a lot of family supporting her, lots of friends and family, and we’re wishing her a speedy recovery and want her to just take care of herself,” said Henderson.
Fyfe’s two oldest children—Jamie Anderson, 28 and Brad Fyfe, age 20 are grown up—but as a single mother, she still has two children in her care: David, 16, and Michael, age 14. She’s also is a grandmother to three now.
“I know she’s worried about her sons, so we want to try to tell her to take care of herself and we’ll watch out for her sons,” said Henderson.
Wegener’s Granulomatisis “knocks out your kidneys,” explained Fyfe, when speaking about her illness, also extending a big thank-you to everyone ahead of time for their support.
She has been undergoing dialysis treatment for seven years now. This treatment currently includes four-hour long dialysis treatments three times a week, every week.
One of the side effects of this is high phosphorus levels, and inflamed parathyroid glands. Her bones have become fragile and are easily broken—she has most recently broken both hips, and requires a walker to get around.
This means she is in “excruciating pain” every day, she explained—especially on her trips three times a week along the hilly, winding gravel road from Mitaanjigamiing to the dialysis unit at La Verendrye Hospital.
Surgery—scheduled now for Sept. 16 in Thunder Bay—has been a “longtime coming” to remove the parathyroid glands, and will reduce this problem.
But this has been further complicated as her parathyroid has “fallen” to the left breastbone—meaning to remove it, the surgeon will be required to open her chest, crack her ribs, and “go hunting” for it, she explained.
“I guess he has to tell you all the worse case scenarios,” Fyfe said about the risks which she has been informed of about the surgery, adding that she’s not looking forward to the pain or not being able to speak right after the surgery.
“I’m a big chicken,” she chuckled.
But recovery from the surgery could take anywhere from six months to a year for her to heal.
“I was just thinking I’ll be ‘Super-Alana,’ and come out of the hospital fine,” she admitted. “But it’s going to take a little bit of time to recover.”
And depending on how things go with the surgery, Fyfe may not even be able to return right away to her home in Mitaanjigamiing with her children.
Throughout her recovery, she will also no longer be able to work in her position at the Mitaanjigamiing Band Office as the Healthy Babies, Healthy Children co-ordinator.
It’s a position she has kept on with, despite her illness she explained, as she enjoyed the independence it brings and just keeping busy.
Many may know also know Fyfe from her volunteer work with Treaty #3 Police Service to organize the bike rodeos for children—something she hopes to return to doing once she is healed up.
Fyfe has also been a presence at the annual Tom Bruyere “Walk for Dialysis,” raising money for district’s dialysis unit.
And it’s all these things—family, her work and volunteering—which keep her optimistic as she deals with her illness and all the things it brings.
“I can’t die, I have too much to do,” she said optimistically. “Too much to do in life!”
Anyone wishing to help cook or to donate items for the breakfast or penny table can contact the band office 274-2188 and talk with Henderson or Alex Cochrane.
If people are unable to attend, donations can still be made by contacting Henderson.