In two separate fundraising efforts, hundreds of Cambrians and other supporters of young mother and cancer-stricken middle-school teacher Kambria Wesch-Doherty raised more than $25,000.
For now, according to Kambria’s mother, Debbie Wesch of Paso Robles, donated funds “are being put into a nonprofit account. The first thing they will be used for is Kambria's care, so she may live as long as possible.” Any remaining funds are to go toward raising her three children, all age 5 or younger.
After Willow — the youngest daughter of Wesch-Doherty and her husband, landscaper Gavin Doherty — was born in November, doctors discovered and removed the mother’s enlarged, grapefruit-sized right ovary. Tests showed an extremely rare and aggressive cancer was not only in the ovary but in other sites throughout her body and brain.
Doctors have launched an aggressive treatment regime of chemotherapy and radiation, but she and the family know she’s battling against grim odds for the life of the instructor many Santa Lucia Middle School students call “the best science teacher ever.”
On Feb. 7, volunteers cooked and served more than 800 pasta dinners, raising more than $17,000.
The two eldest Doherty children, Kirra, 5, and Griffin, 3, attended the pasta feed, as did grandmother Wesch and other family members.
Volunteer Steve Kniffen reported in an email that night the response wowed everybody involved with the fundraiser. To the community, he said, “from me, the kids, the parents of the kids, the (Coast Unified) school district and especially for three little children who need hope more than anything (Wesch-Doherty’s children), thank you. We could not have asked for more.”
At an entertainment-silent auction event Feb. 9 that raised more than $8,000, Wesch said her daughter “has been overwhelmed by all the support.” Wesch said it’s amazing how many people have turned out to help, including some who’ve never met Kambria.
A third fundraiser is set for Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Paso Robles Event Center, 2198 Riverside Ave., Paso Robles. Wesch said Feb. 9 that more than 600 people already had confirmed they’d attend the event that’s to include Bearcat Boosters tri-tip sandwiches, local wines, Figueroa Mountain beer, special lunches and play area for the kids, silent and live auctions, a raffle and a bake sale. Entertainment includes music by Cuesta Ridge and Nasta Rasta and visit from Zoo to You and its creatures.
Tickets, $20, are available at Kahuna’s Surf, 817 12th St., Paso Robles.
Friends also are seeking support for Kambria and her family via youcaring.com, CaringBridge.com, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
As of Tuesday, Feb. 12, more than $25,000 had been donated to http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/kambria-wesch-doherty-battles-cancer/37917. Donations also are taken at www.caringbridge.org.
UPDATE, Monday, Feb. 18: This story has been updated to reflect a change in location for the Feb. 23 fundraiser in Paso Robles. Rain is expected that day.
Follow Kathe Tanner on Twitter at @CambriaReporter.