Cancer patient paying it forward
The Delaney Donates Foundation, started in 2010 to raise money for 9-year-old cancer survivor Delaney Clements, is paying it forward Saturday with a fundraiser for drunken-driving victim and cancer patient Ellie Phipps Oliver.
The fundraiser is at Weavers Red Room, 103 North First St, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and will feature a champagne brunch at 11 a.m., eight local bands, food throughout the day from Dolce Vita, Rib City Grill and Suehiro’s and a silent auction.
Oliver, a resident of Grand Junction for 16 years, was hit by a drunken driver while she was stopped at an intersection 14 months ago.
She sustained severe spinal injuries, and magnetic resonance imaging scans taken after surgery revealed an abnormal mass on her thyroid, which was later diagnosed as cancer.
Delaney Donates founders Jessica Jackson and Barb Walsh said Delaney had already asked about the foundation helping other people when they heard about Oliver through mutual friends.
“Delaney just walked out into the living room one day and said, ‘I’m going to get better, so who are we helping next?’ It wasn’t even a question,” Jackson said.
Delaney Donates has organized events to help Oliver previously, and Saturday’s ‘Elliepalooza’ is its largest effort yet — an event organizers said is made possible only by the outpouring of support from local businesses and the Grand Junction community.
“There’s not a word for it other than absolutely awesome. It’s very humbling,” Walsh said.
Jackson and Walsh hope to reach their $40,000 goal at the fundraiser and will be selling T-shirts and bracelets as well as accepting donations to reach that goal.
“We’re not stopping until we get to that number,” Jackson said. “It’s not a question of if, but when.”
Walsh said she hopes people understand how much Delaney, and now Oliver, benefit from their donations.
“That feeling of being helpless… you carry that with you every day, and (donating) helps that. Everyone I’ve talked to that’s chipped in has said that. We’re not powerless, we can all do something,” Walsh said.
“The day of (the fundraiser), when it all comes together, it is beautiful. You see people walking around crying, saying, ‘We did all of this in eight weeks.’ It’s crazy but so worth it,” Jackson said.
The foundation continues to support Delaney, who was two months into remission when doctors found new tumors in her bone marrow.
She starts treatment soon.
Walsh and Jackson said they will keep raising money for Grand Junction residents in need, hoping to reach more people as the foundation grows.
Delaney Donates is a Colorado-registered nonprofit organization and all donations are tax-deductible, according to Walsh. Donations are also accepted at any Wells Fargo branch or through its Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/delaneydonates.