Community rallies around Palatine family after mother of four is diagnosed with cancer
PALATINE, Ill. - A story of hope and perseverance in Palatine. One of the happiest days of Kurt and Ashley Conley’s life was filled with fear.
Weeks before Ashley was due to give birth to their fourth child, some odd symptoms started accelerating.
"I had noticed my gums were bleeding when I brushed my teeth, but again that's happened before. We were out running errands, and we stopped for lunch and Kurt goes, do you know you have blood all over your teeth," said Ashley.
The diagnosis was shocking.
A rare form of leukemia.
Doctors scrambled to deliver baby Harlow at just 33 weeks.
An hour after giving birth, Ashley received her first cancer treatment.
With Ashley and Harlow’s lives at risk, Kurt had to juggle their three boys.
But an army of help was already mobilizing.
"Ten thousand dollars turned into twenty thousand dollars turned into thirty thousand dollars. I think it was something people could finally feel good about. They were helping one of their own," said Keith Sorensen, a friend of the Conley’s and the technology coordinator at Fremd High School, where Kurt works.
Kurt’s colleagues donated proceeds from the school’s annual chili cook off.
They wrote cards, donated meals and provided gift cards. Then, the support spread district wide.
"I've gotten anonymous letters, with just my name on it just like ‘hey we're thinking of you’," said Ashley.
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With limited vacation and sick days, it allowed Kurt a moment to breathe.
I don't have to worry about, do I have to get a second job, drive an Uber at night or something you know," Kurt said, remarking on the financial support.
To give back, Kurt and his Cub Scout Pack are hosting a blood drive.
They are thankful for Palatine and beyond for people they never met who gave what they could.
"You don't realize how much people care, it's restored my faith in humanity really. It has," said Ashley.
The blood drive in support of Ashley runs through April 24. Participants can reach out to any Vitalant location to make an appointment and mention Ashley’s name.
To schedule an appointment: https://www.vitalant.org/