Community aids family’s cancer fight

Oak Bay High to host performance and auction May 29

Emma Smith receives the proceeds of the recent Chili Fest from Team Emma Grace members Sharon Macauley

Emma Smith receives the proceeds of the recent Chili Fest from Team Emma Grace members Sharon Macauley

A chili cook-off and silent auction at St. Peter’s Church April 23 brought in $7,500 for the family of Emma Smith, a local girl fighting cancer.

The cook-off was organized to raise funds for parents Diane and Darrell, who are devoted to taking care of Emma. The 12-year-old has suffered from aggressive cancer in her brain since 2012; it moved to her spine in 2014. This year it’s taken a harsh toll on the family’s financial situation, as Darrell is unable to commit to the type of overseas contract work that previously supported the family.

Following the Chili Fest, Emma learned her cancer has spread further and the disease has taken a “devastating” turn, with an unknown amount of time left.

For now, family and friends are looking ahead to a May 29 event at Oak Bay’s Dave Dunnet Community Theatre, An Evening for Emma Smith, with a silent auction and live performances.

The cook-off drew more than 160 people, said neighbour Heather Hanson, who helped co-ordinate the event. “The people who attended were so generous and supportive of the Smiths’ situation that it brought tears to my eyes,” she said.

Six pots of chili were stewed for the competition, with Mike’s Kickin’ Chili by Mike Pickering deemed the winner.

The money will help cover the family’s cost for about two months, Hanson said.

Entrance for the May 29 event is $5 and it starts at 6 p.m. with performances beginning at 6:30 p.m. by Allegro Performing Arts Centre, Boston Dance Collective, Dance On It Studios, Karen Clark Dance Studio, Lighthouse Academy of Dance, Oak Bay High School, STAGES Dance Company, Vibestreet Dance, Victoria Academy of Ballet, Victoria Irish Dancers, Wendy Steen Mitchell Dance, Whitespace Dance and special guests Ballet Ètoile.

Items for sale include two WestJet passes, packages to Fairmont Hotels and Big White Ski Resort, two Phillips Backyarder weekend passes from Atomique, gift certificates to Prima Strada Pizzeria, John’s Place Restaurant and more.

Tickets are available in advance at Lansdowne middle school, where Emma is in Grade 7.

Donors can support the Smiths at gogetfunding.com/helpemma or at Emma Smith Trust Fund: Transit#02720 Institution#809 Account#4103371690.