Marion Fawcett, a single mother in Juneau diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer, is seen here in a picture for a GoFundMe set up on behalf of her and her children. (Photo by Amber Nickerson)

Marion Fawcett, a single mother in Juneau diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer, is seen here in a picture for a GoFundMe set up on behalf of her and her children. (Photo by Amber Nickerson)

Comedy fundraiser seeks to bring cheer to mother with cancer and her children

Event at Crystal Saloon on Saturday part of effort to send family to Disneyland.

A comedy fundraiser on behalf of a Juneau woman diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer is scheduled Saturday evening at Crystal Saloon, in the hope of providing her and her children some merriment with a trip to Disneyland.

Marion Fawcett, a single mother with adult children as well as two she is still raising, was diagnosed with cancer last year, said Amber Nickerson, a friend who is organizing Saturday’s event, in an interview Monday. Fawcett learned just before Thanksgiving the tumors had multiplied and doctors, rather than continuing chemotherapy with its adverse reactions, recommended palliative and hospice care to allow her to make the most of what may be a few months to live.

While some aspects of day-to-day life and medical treatment are a struggle for Fawcett, Nickerson said her intent with the comedy show and other fundraising efforts isn’t to cover her friend’s medical bills.

“What we’re worried about is the memories that her children are going to hold dear to their hearts for the rest of their lives because their mom is not going to be around,” Nickerson said.

Nickerson said she has known Fawcett since they were teenagers (when she was Marion Veryser) and is currently coordinating with other friends to help with living arrangements such as bringing meals over and trying to relocate her into a single-floor instead of two-story residence.

The idea for the fundraiser came after Nickerson was at a comedy show in Juneau a few months ago and felt comedians she knew in Anchorage could elevate the level of such an evening. While she had been talking with friends about such a show in Juneau, the idea gained urgency when she heard Fawcett’s updated diagnosis.

The show is being hosted by Jon Dore, a Juneau resident who to date has performed exclusively outside Juneau (no that’s not a joke, just his feeling more comfortable and having more time to perform on the road rather than when he’s at home helping raise his kids). But he said Monday the decision to make his debut local stage appearance happened quickly through his partner Christina Love, a local domestic violence services advocate who first met Fawcett a couple of years ago and has been involved in helping during her illness.

“I know Marion’s children quite well,” he said. “They’ve stayed with us a few times when she was up in Anchorage getting chemotherapy treatments, et cetera. So I’m familiar with Marion and her kids, and know how important this show would be to raise some funds so it was a pretty simple one. I decided I would host it and kind of be the glue to hold it together, and then they brought in some great acts from Anchorage as well.”

Featured visiting comedians included Eric Byrd, Barbara Lonsdale, Paco, and Bryan Otten, plus local comedians David Evenson and Al Perkins. The show is scheduled from 7 to 8:30 p.m., but Nickerson said the intention is to stage a second show from 9 to 10:30 p.m. if the first show sells out.

Nickerson also started a GoFundMe to help pay for the Disneyland trip, as well as comfort items such as “soft comfy socks, blankets for her wheelchair, delicious teas she can enjoy, yummy snacks, maybe movies, massages, if she’s up to it,” according to the fundraising page.

Love said efforts by individuals are playing an enormous role in providing comfort and help to Fawcett through a period where she’s had to cope with major issues as healthcare-related travel and the care of her younger children.

“The people who need services the most are least likely to get it,” Love said. “So the more sick that you become the less capability or energy or capacity that you have to navigate through. And that is what happened…I’m on the other side, working with housing and making sure that she has everything she needs from the medical side of things, and making sure that she’s comfortable that she’s gotten good food and her medication delivered. There’s just so many different parts.”

As of mid-afternoon Monday 47 donors have contributed $4,505 toward the GoFundMe’s $20,000 goal.

“The community has really stepped up in such a short time,” Nickerson said. “And it’s so appreciated. This has given her renewed hope, and a kind of strength and emotional well-being to see that there’s people that care, because she’s felt so isolated and alone for so long now.”

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

•••••

Know and Go

What: Marion’s Wish: Comedy for a Cause fundraiser.

Who: Hosted by Jon Dore, also featuring comedians Eric Byrd, Barbara Lonsdale, Paco, Bryan Otten, David Evenson and Al Perkins.

When: 7-8:30 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Crystal Saloon, 218 Front St.

Tickets: $20-$30, available online via www.crystalsaloon.com.

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