By Dan Rankin
Hearn’s Ice Cream owner Bob Hearn estimates that between Erin Voss and her sister Steph, there is a combined 15 or 16 years of work behind the counter at his Queen Street ice cream shop.
So when there was a fundraiser party held at the St. Marys Golf and Country Club last month to raise money for Erin’s $8,000 per month brain cancer treatments, Hearn obviously marked the date on his calendar. The event also gave him an idea: tomorrow, more than 15 former Hearn’s employees will come out for an Ice Cream Fundraiser, with all proceeds from the day being donated towards Erin’s treatment costs.
“I decided I would get all those ladies and gentleman back here to work for the day and make a bigger donation than I could have made on my own at the golf course,” he said. “This is just something to give back to their family on behalf of myself and our family.”
According to Hearn, alumni staff working behind the counter beginning at 10:00 am include Stacey Frayne, Sarah Edye, Sarah Shackleton and Stef Latham. Taking over at noon will be Steph Voss, Erin Riley, Jen Riley, Carolyn Riley and Meg Riley. Then, the crew at 3:00 pm includes Kelly Swetman, Sarah Richardson, Steve Chateauvert, Dave Torbet, Karen Gibb, Ali Thompson, Barb Taylor, Tracey Aldis, Tracey Rabits and Laura Pook.
Every day 27 Canadians are diagnosed with a brain tumour, and they can range in age from infants in utero to seniors. According to a spokesperson for the Brain Cancer Foundation of Canada, Erin, 28, was recently chosen as a subject in some of the group’s promotional material to drive that point home.
“Erin has offered to share her story quite often either through support groups or sharing it online or in our newsletters,” said Katrina Fortner, marketing and communications specialist with the national brain cancer foundation. “She’s really open about her journey and especially about sharing it with other young people.”
According to Fortner, cancer is often seen as an elderly disease, or something that might happen to adults later in life. But Erin was “sort of at the start of her adult life,” when her diagnosis happened, Fortner said.
“She’s really been undergoing two major journeys at the same time – one into adulthood, continuing on with university and her boyfriend and family, and also dealing with everything that comes with a brain tumour diagnosis,” she said. “So, on top of sharing her story and fundraising for us, she was also willing to be featured on the cover of our new brochure and some of our marketing material. We really wanted to kind of highlight the fact that it can, unfortunately, happen to anybody, and Erin is a really great example of how a young person has been able to cope with their diagnosis, take it in stride, and almost turn it into a positive for her.”