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Since 1908 Chronicle The 98¢ (plus HST) Publications Mail Agreement No. 40010318 roniclle le..cco om m Gardening series starts today P. 14 Serving SSe erv rvin ing LLa Ladysmith, ad dyysm s ith, Chemainus and area Sibling rivalry at Forrest Field Tuesday, February 7, 2012 P. 17 Community rallies to support Wendy Niomi Pearson THE CHRONICLE Mere days after learning the joyous news that they were going to be parents, Wendy Gurney and Kurt Stewart made a horrific discovery in December — Stewart, at 31 years of age, had stage four terminal gastric cancer. Now, friends and family of the Chemainus couple are banding together to raise funds in memory of the man they say was kind, caring and an inspiration. They have created Wendy-Aid, a fundraising campaign to assist Wendy, the selfemployed mom-to-be, who spent countless hours at Kurt’s side during his illness. He passed on Jan. 28. “Kurt was a very active individual who loved the outdoors,” said Doc Morrell, one of the founders of Wendy-Aid. “He loved everybody and was a very vibrant individual.” Stewart was born Nov. 2, 1980, in Nanaimo and spent many of his childhood years on the West Coast. Eventually, the family headed to Alberta, and Kurt pledged to one day return to the Island. He got that chance in 2001, when he moved to the Cowichan Valley. Some of his time was spent volunteering as a youth pastor for several Cowichan Valley churches, said Lisa Stewart, Kurt’s older sister. “He really held himself to a high standard Days after learning they were going to be parents, Wendy Gurney and Kurt Stewart discovered that Stewart had terminal gastric cancer. ... he was always really involved with youth Stewart passed away Jan. 28, and the community is rallying to support Gurney and remember Stewart through Wendy-Aid. and disadvantaged sects of people and PHOTO SUBMITTED spent a lot of time being a voice for them and helping out,” she said. “He had one of had hopes of starting up his own tour guid- Our family — my parents, myself and my the Wendy-Aid site, where people can read those personalities that drew people to him, ing company. Shortly before his passing, he two siblings — feel that Wendy and her Kurt and Wendy’s story and make a donareally quite outgoing — people felt comfort- had purchased a couple of goats and was baby are such a gift, and we really get joy tion if they wish. able talking to him.” “We’ve all gone through personal tragedies training them to pack hiking supplies. at welcoming these two wonderful people Kurt was living in Crofton when he met When Kurt first got ill at the end of October, into our lives even though we’re devastated and people say ‘is there anything I can do to Gurney in December 2010. He moved to the chronic abdominal pain he was experi- at the loss of Kurt who meant so much to help,’ and there’s really nothing you could Chemainus in the summer of 2011. do,” he said. “In this case, I knew that I encing was thought to be pancreatitis. He us.” “Kurt very much found a soulmate in Wendy, was diagnosed with gastric cancer on Dec. A Burger and Beer night is being held Feb. could do [the website] ... and I’ve never and he was super excited and happy about 1, a few days before the couple was married. 19 from 4-7 p.m. at the Mount Brenton Golf been more proud of what I do for a living having a life together,” said Lisa. It wasn’t until Dec. 11 that the cancer was Course in Chemainus to support Wendy-Aid. than in doing this.” Many Chemainus residents may recall see- diagnosed as terminal. Tickets are $12, and there will be 50/50 Burger and Beer tickets are available ing Kurt on his many hikes around town and “It was a bit of a shock how very quickly draws and a silent auction full of goodies, through the Wendy-Aid website (www. the surrounding areas with his faithful dog, he got ill,” Lisa said. says co-organizer David Hatchman. or at Doc the Barber in Bubba. “I’m so moved by the response this has Chemainus. If you can’t make the burger Lisa said despite the trying ordeal, both “Bubba and him explored the outdoors on Kurt and Wendy remained positive and con- gotten,” he said. “We’ve got some really night but would still like to donate, a fund Vancouver Island more than anybody,” Lisa cerned about those around them. wonderful gifts from people in the com- has been set up at the CIBC, under the Kurt said. Stewart Memorial Account. For more infor“Seeing the two of them together and their munity.” Kurt was a self-employed drywaller and light together was an inspirational thing. Hatchman, a website developer, created mation, contact We’re the Ones to Call W 250-245-1111 2 Su P Sue y Perrey 410A First Avenue, Ladysmith 2 FOR 1 When Buying or Selling Give Luke or Sue a call for a FREE MARKET EVALUATION Luke Kolk Lu olk

February 7, 2012, Ladysmith Chemainus Chronicle

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