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Over $7,000 raised for terminally-ill Coquitlam woman facing eviction

A terminally-ill Coquitlam single mom is being evicted from her home. But a friend is hoping her move to a new residence will be eased by the kindness of a GoFundMe campaign.
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Allison Mackinnon, her son, Orson, and their two dogs, are facing the prospect of moving to a new home even as Mackinnon battles terminal cancer.

A terminally-ill single mom facing eviction from her Coquitlam apartment is learning the value of community as it rallies to help her find a new home.

A GoFundMe campaign launched Sunday has already raised more than $7,000 to help Allison Mackinnon pay the increased rent she’ll face when she moves from the basement suite she rents with her teenage son and two dogs to a new place she’s secured near Eagle Ridge Hospital in Port Moody.

A few days ago, Mackinnon’s prospects didn’t look quite so bright, said her friend, Shelly Cassivi, who started the fundraiser.

Mackinnon had recently been given six months to vacate her home as the landlord intends to tear it down and build anew.

It was just the latest body blow after surviving breast cancer several years ago, then uprooting her life in Calgary to move to B.C. Three years ago, the disease came back, spreading to her brain, lungs and other internal organs.

“It’s really difficult in the rental market,” said Cassivi of her friend’s search for a new home, made all the more complicated by Mackinnon’s limited disability income, the family’s two dogs and her desire to maintain stability for her 15-year-old son by keeping him in the same school.

The Port Moody apartment ticked two of those boxes, plus the added bonus of being close to the hospital where Mackinnon can maintain her cancer treatments. But the rent was a stretch.

That’s when Cassivi started to reach out to the community to see if she could help make up the difference.

She said watching donations come into the GoFundMe page in real time has filled her heart.

“It’s a beautiful thing to witness,” Cassivi, a yoga instructor, said. “It just goes to show we’re all this big network of connection where one little thing happens and it’s that ripple effect.”

Her friend’s spirits have also been bolstered, added Cassivi.

“She’s blown away by the support people are showing.”

With a goal of raising $20,000, the money will not only help pay for Mackinnon’s rent boost, but also the continuation of a chemotherapy regime that had showed some promise earlier, as well as provide a cushion for her son.

Cassivi said it’s the latter that’s giving Mackinnon the will to battle on.

“She wants to see him through high school,” she said.