One Nipomo woman’s struggle with a rare form of kidney cancer has brought together friends and family from South County to San Luis Obispo.
While 20-year-old Delaney “Laney” Lemus remains in the intensive care unit of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, friends and relatives are organizing barbecues and other fundraisers, the first of which will be Saturday.
“It’s been an amazing, humbling experience to see everyone come together for Laney,” said relative Carol Mahoney, who has taken on the role of spokesperson for the family.
A Nipomo native with three older sisters, Laney attended St. Patrick’s School in Arroyo Grande, spent 10 years raising heifers and steers with a 4-H club and graduated from Nipomo High School in 2008.
Laney had just completed her first year at Cal Poly when, in August 2009, she was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumor, a type of kidney cancer that primarily affects children ages 3 to 4 years old.
Doctors removed a large tumor from Laney’s slender frame, as well as one of her kidneys, Mahoney said. After several months of chemotherapy, Laney was in remission for nine months before the tumor returned in December.
About two weeks ago, doctors operated again, successfully removing most of the tumor. The rest, Mahoney said in an e-mail, would be treated with chemotherapy and radiation. Laney is expected to stay in the hospital for at least several months, recovering and undergoing additional tests.
Family members have signed off on e-mails with Laney’s motto: “Live, laugh and love.”
A barbecue to benefit the Lemus family is set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Miner’s Ace Hardware parking lot at 553 W. Tefft St. in Nipomo. A $10 donation will purchase a tri-tip sandwich, chips and a drink.
Tickets can be purchased from Lemos Feed & Pet Supply stores in Arroyo Grande, Nipomo and Santa Maria; the Reflections Salon in the Arroyo Grande Village; and Total Bliss Hair Studio in Santa Maria. Or call 937-1704 or 550-5160.
Other events include:
Feb. 24: A blood donation day at the Vons shopping center, 520 W. Tefft St., Nipomo;
March 12: A barbecue dinner and silent auction at St. Patrick’s School, 900 W. Branch St., Arroyo Grande;
March 20: A blood drive and pancake breakfast at St. Patrick’s Church, 501 Fair Oaks Ave., Arroyo Grande; and
May 21: A dinner at the Santa Maria Fairpark, 937 S. Thornburg St., Santa Maria.
Donations can also be sent to the “Laney Lemus Benefit” at Rabobank, 615 Tefft St., Nipomo, CA 93444.
Cynthia Lambert and Gayle Cuddy write the South County Beat column on alternating Wednesdays. Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929. Stay updated by following @SouthCountyBeat on Twitter.