By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY— Angela Fickett got a double shot of tragic news in one month — her husband Richard died and a beloved great-niece was diagnosed with cancer.
Now, Fickett and other family members are rallying around Crystal Bowlanger to support her while she battles a rare form of brain cancer.
Bowlanger, 23, had surgery on Oct. 17 to remove a tennis ball-sized tumor from her brain. That was also the day Richard Fickett died.
“It was a double whammy,” Fickett said.
Once the surgery was over, Bowlanger was paralyzed on one side, but slowly improved. More tests brought the devastating news about how rare this form of cancer was and how uncertain her prognosis was, Fickett said.
Bowlanger has suffered seizures and continued paralysis due to her illness. Medical bills are mounting. Having no health insurance is also causing the family a great deal of stress.
“She’s fighting,” Fickett said.
That fight includes undergoing radiation five times a week for seven weeks, followed by a six-month regiment of chemotherapy.
To help support the family, online donations sites have been created in Bowlanger’s name.
The family is hosting a bake sale Dec. 7 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Marion Gerrish Community Center, 39 West Broadway.
Fickett said people are being very generous with offers to help. She said she is amazed that complete strangers are visiting the online sites to offer their help and support.
Bowlanger’s online site is at gofundme.com/54nylo. People can also find a Facebook page dedicated to helping Bowlanger and her family.