The Iron Range Maidens and Attackonites have been blessed for the past several years with an incredible and talented volunteer bout photographer in Wes Bailey. Several months ago, he received a devastating cancer diagnosis. Like many families in this situation, Wes and his wife Courtney are facing some financial challenges, and could use some support. You’ll notice the link at the right side of the page – please consider a donation – even the smallest amount is welcome!
From his YouCaring site (by Thwakonite):
My friend Wes and his wife Courtney had been enjoying the good life with their 3 dogs in Grand Rapids, MN when he started having strange symptoms and sensations inside his head during the fall of 2014. Wes saw a doctor at Grand Itasca Clinic who also thought they sounded unusual and potentially serious and ordered an MRI. To everyone’s surprise, it showed a tumor deep in the center of Wes’s brain. A second MRI at the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis revealed an additional suspicious area in the left frontal portion. This part was biopsied in December and showed a type of tumor called an astrocytoma with anaplastic features, which is not currently considered a curable cancer. Wes’s case is also more difficult to treat than others because of the locations of the tumor- none of it can be removed. Wes and Courtney have handled this diagnosis with amazing grace, positive attitude, and a determination to “pack lots of love, appreciation, learning, and enjoyment into every single day”.
The December biopsy was followed by a long recovery period during which it was difficult for Wes to speak. The first treatment was six weeks of radiation, five days a week, in Hibbing. That did not control new growth completely, so currently Wes is receiving oral and intravenous chemotherapy in Grand Rapids. He and Courtney still need to travel to Minneapolis for MRIs and appointments with his neuro-oncologist.
Wes had his first photography exhibit at MacRostie Art Center in downtown Grand Rapids during April 2015. This exhibit showcased the spirit and athleticism of the sport of roller derby. If you missed it, you can see the photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/wes_bailey/sets/72157652477208475 and can purchase a framed print- just contact Wes. Unfortunately, treatment, subsequent side effects, and the uncertainty of not being able to commit to anything beyond a couple weeks have hindered Wes’s plans to convert his passion and talent for photography into a business.
Luckily, Courtney’s job provides good medical insurance and enough flexibility for her to be with Wes at treatments. However, with Wes unable to work they are having trouble getting by on just one income. Medical bills, associated travel, veterinary bills (mostly for their beloved old gal Lula), an upcoming long-overdue septic repair, and assorted other costs have depleted their savings and added additional stress to their life.
Everyone who has met Wes and Courtney know what an incredible team they are and can see the love they share for each other, their dogs, family and friends, and the world around them. Any amount you can afford to contribute will be used to offset the unexpected expenses and lost income associated with this diagnosis and will help them reduce their stress and enjoy their time together.
Wes and Courtney would like to thank everyone for the love and help they have already received and deeply appreciate all support, financial and otherwise.