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Emergency fundraiser for Crone family raises nearly $85,000 in just four days

Tammie Crone back home after medical procedure in Arizona leaves her paralyzed from chest down
Crone family GoFundMe
The Crone Family Fundraiser GoFundMe page was on the verge of touching $85,000 when organizers decided to bring it to an end.
If you happened to take in a Vanier Spirits or Peacock Toilers basketball game any time over the last two decades, odds are you would have seen Tammie and Vaughn Crone in the building.

Maybe they were watching one of their four youngsters -- Kehlsie, Megan, Braeden and Macaela -- play for their respective teams. Odds are it was more than just that, though. Tammie was probably helping out behind the scenes as a manager, Vaughn would be patrolling the sideline coaching. Anything they could do to help.

And it wasn’t just the high school sports scene. The Crones found time to be involved in their community from many different angles, giving their time and helping others whenever they could.

So when it came time for Moose Jaw to give back, folks stepped up and then some.

While recently undergoing a medical procedure in Arizona to treat a rare cancer of the smooth muscles known as leiomyosarcoma, Tammie was paralyzed from the chest down.

The devastating outcome left the family held up in the U.S., facing an exorbitant medical bill that included $50,000 just for the air ambulance to get Tammie home.

That’s when Jodie Hetherington and Donna Ackerman put a plan into motion.

“Any time one of your friends or family members goes through something like this, everybody wants to help and nobody knows what to do because there isn’t anything really to do,” Hetherington said. “But this was an unforeseeable event and it came with a huge, huge price tag. So looking at that, Donna and I were talking about how we could help them, they were dealing with so much… The bottom line is we needed to get Tammie home, and when you’re staring at that kind of a bill and it’s ‘pay it, right now, or she can’t come home’, you have to do something.”

They decided to turn to GoFundMe, with the hope of at least bringing in some sort of financial help to offset the myriad of costs to bring Tammie home. They set a lofty goal of $50,000, hoping to maybe offset the flight cost by the time the GFM wrapped up in a couple weeks.

Within 24 hours, they’d surpassed that amount. And when Hetherington finally closed down the GoFundMe on Thursday afternoon, a total of $84,885 had been raised through 390 donations, all with the goal of doing what could be done to help a family that had helped so many others.

‘It’s unbelievable, actually,” Hetherington said with a tone of amazement. “There really honestly are no words to describe the support they’ve received, thank you just isn’t enough. Never in my right mind did I think that in less than 24 hours people would step up and do all that to get her home. I mean, we had her back here by Monday night… I don’t even know how to express the feeling, it’s amazing that so many people helped.”

What isn’t a surprise is why folks came through like they did.

“Anyone who knows Tammy or Vaughn or any of the Crone kids knows they’d be the first in line to help someone else,” Hetherington said. “And they have, all of them. They’re the first people helping, be it with church or schools, whatever, they’re the first people to stand up and say ‘how can I help’. And I think that most of the people who donated were on the receiving end of help from the Crones, that wouldn’t surprise me at all.”

Now the long road to recovery continues. It’s hoped Tammie will be able to transfer to Wascana Rehab in the next week and things will continue to improve.

“We don’t know what recovery from this looks like at this point, or where we’re headed with the cancer at this point, everything is kind of at a standstill and we’re taking it one day at a time,” Hetherington said. 

“Tammie is an amazing individual, she’s so positive and so thankful for all the help and so happy to be home. She’s just so focussed on whatever recovery she can get, and that’s why we’re staying as positive as we can be.”