Natalie Williams, right, is in hospital in Vancouver as she awaits a liver transplant. (Citizen file)

Natalie Williams, right, is in hospital in Vancouver as she awaits a liver transplant. (Citizen file)

Cowichan community steps up to support Natalie

More than $27,000 raised to help Natalie Williams with her liver-transplant operation

The local community answered the call and managed to raise more than $27,000 for Natalie Williams, who requires a life-saving liver transplant in Vancouver.

The 19 year-old Cowichan Valley resident and her family needed to raise $15,000 to cover the costs of the mandatory requirement of having one of her parents live near Vancouver General Hospital for three months after the operation, and other costs not covered under her medical insurance.

Natalie was admitted to hospital in Vancouver on April 10 for her long-awaited liver transplant, but the donated liver that was to be used in the surgery was not viable, and now she has to wait in hospital for an undetermined time until another suitable one becomes available.

Cpl. Krista Hobday, from the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment, was in charge of the fundraising efforts for Natalie.

She said it’s fortunate that the public was so generous in the fundraising efforts.

“The $15,000 we had to raise is intended to help Natalie’s mother and father with expenses after the surgery, but now they need to cover the expenses of going back and forth between the Cowichan Valley and Vancouver until the surgery, so it’s good that we raised as much as we did,” Hobday said.

Greg and Peggy Hunt donated a whopping $15,000 for Natalie’s cause on behalf of many donors in the region.

Greg said he and his wife led a campaign in the Valley three years ago to raise $30,000 for Duncan’s Tami Walker, who requires a double-lung transplant in a Vancouver hospital and the money is required to cover other expenses.

“We managed to raise much more than $30,000 and we became custodians of the extra money on behalf of the donors,” he said.

“We’ve been looking for another cause to donate to and learned about Natalie and decided to pay it forward to someone else who needs help. We still have more money, but we need to keep some available for Tami in case she needs it. She still has not had her surgery and is still on the wait list.”

Hobday said the Hunts and the other donors who helped raise the $15,000 gave the largest donation for Natalie.

She said the second largest was a $5,000 donation from St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.

“A huge thank you to the community for helping out with successful fundraising effort,” Hobday said. “The money will be kept in trust until the family needs it.”