The giving spirit was alive in St. Joseph County Saturday night, as friends and family of a mother diagnosed with breast cancer raffled off prizes and filled up on food as part of a fundraiser for her medical costs.
On Nov. 1, Sarah Oiler found a lump in her breast. She immediately made a doctor’s appointment.
“I am employed but don’t have insurance,” Oiler said. “I was told I would have to pay for an appointment along with pay for a mammogram out of my pocket. I live paycheck to paycheck. There was no way I could do that.”
Oiler called every organization she could think of to see if there was any way to get financial assistance. But because she’s only 35, she didn’t have much luck. A woman she met through Young Survivors donated money to help cover the cost of Oiler’s mammogram and initial appointment, but there were many bills to come.
On Tuesday, Oiler will have a double mastectomy with nipple-sparing reconstruction – an operation she’ll have to pay for.
But, luckily, her friends are helping her out. They organized a fundraiser at Clay Pub on 933 Saturday night. Through raffles, jewelry and t-shirt sales, they raised money to help cover medical bills.
“We've had a few complete strangers come in the door and leave phenomenal donations for Sarah,” said Tina Young, who organized the event. “So it's amazing.”
Oiler’s 10-year-old son even pulled out $5 for his mom when he heard the news about her cancer; he wanted to be the first person to donate.
And friends say there isn’t a more deserving woman – Oiler always thinks of others before herself and goes out of her way to help her friends. They’re just doing what she would do for them.
“Even with this news, she was still chin up, she's tough,” said friend Lindsey Vanbelleghem.
People who didn’t make it to Saturday’s fundraiser can still donate to the Oilers by dropping off money at Clay Pub.