Ladysmith is known for its community spirit, and that strong spirit is coming out once again, as the community rallies around a young family.
Steven Knowles, a father of four young children, was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the beginning of March, and he and his family recently learned that it has spread to his stomach and lymph node glands.
Necole Young, who was best friends with Knowles when they were growing up, describes Knowles as a fantastic father and amazing best friend.
“He has the quickest wit and a rotten sense of humour, and there is never a dull moment,” she said. “Even when you think you’re safe with him, he finds some way to roast you. He always puts a smile on everyone’s face for sure. Steven has had his issues over the years, but he’s a really good guy. He’s really attentive with his kids, and they are definitely his world.
“As a friend, to me, he’s someone if I ever have a problem, I can count on him. He’s very protective of his friends.”
A variety of fundraisers are being set up to help Knowles’s family.
On Friday, April 18, singer-songwriters Ryan McMahon and David Bitonti are performing at In The Beantime Café, and they will be donating the proceeds from the show to the family.
The show starts at 7 p.m., and tickets are available for $10 in advance by calling 250-245-2305.
As well, The Short Close Song Shelter is accepting food donations during the Friday, April 25 Wooden Horseman concert.
Young and Katerina Papadopoulos, another good friend of Knowles’s, have been busy working on a number of fundraisers.
“He’s going to be in for a very tough, long road, and I just hope we can ease that burden for him,” said Young.
A garage sale is being planned for Saturday, April 26 in front of 420 Buller St. from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be a bake sale, raffles and possibly a hot dog sale.
Looking ahead to early May, a fundraising event is planned for Saturday, May 10 at the Sportsman Pub. There will be live music by the Dead Byrds and by the Diamond Dawgz, a silent auction, a 50/50 draw and much more.
Young says the night will have a carnival-like atmosphere.
“We are really trying for a big fun atmosphere that night – no time for worries,” she said.
The silent auction will run from 5-11 p.m. at the Sportsman, and Papadopoulos is making a very large basket to be raffled off. Tickets for the raffle will be on sale starting Wednesday, April 9, and the draw will take place at midnight on May 10.
They will be collecting donations at the door, and Young says the Sportsman will be offering drink specials and has donated a lump sum of money. Many local businesses have also donated gift certificates, and Young says they are currently looking for more silent auction items, as well as donations that can be used as door prizes for that night.
A fundraising page has been set up at www.gofundme.com/7nm1o4 by Steven’s mother, Debbie Knowles-Laursen, and cash donations can be sent online through that page.
As well, an account has been set up in Steven Knowles’s name at the Junction Bottle Depot.
Young and Papadopoulos are currently looking for volunteers to help with set up and other tasks for the garage sale on April 26.
Young is collecting any gently-used items for the garage sale as well.
Young says she can pick up any garage sale items, bottles and cans for the bottle depot or anything else. People can call or text her at 250-618-8344, find her on Facebook or drop items off at her home at 468 Davis Rd., and she says she can also pick up items as well.
People can also drop off garage sale items at Debbie Knowles-Laursen’s home at 822 Esplanade (which has access in the alley).
“We are a small community and this is by far the best community for helping each other out,” said Young. “Everyone has been amazing throughout this. I’d love to thank you from the bottom of my heart.”