Julie Crawford is expected to be medevaced to Edmonton today, so she can celebrate her young son's birthday.

And so she can die close to home.

Such are the cruelties of cancer.

Crawford, 34, has spent more than five years battling stage 3+ melanoma.

Diagnosed in November 2010, she has undergone five major surgeries, radiation treatments and five separate drug treatments.


Julie Crawford smiles as she prepares to medevaced home to Edmonton. (Cory Crawford )

Nothing could stop the cancer.

Her last hope, a slim one, rested on a treatment called adoptive T-cell transfer. The only place in Canada where the treatment is available is at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto.

She began treatment there on Jan 14. Twice, respiratory failure put her in intensive care.

In the end, the treatment failed.

In the end, she wanted only to come home to die.

But her health had become so precarious, she needed a medevac flight, and that costs thousands of dollars.

That's when her family and friends started a gofundme page called Getting Julie Home, where they shared their story.

As of Wednesday morning, almost 600 people had made donations, raising more than $56,000 to get one young mother home in time for her son's seventh birthday.

Jaimee Greene helped organize the campaign. She first met Julie Crawford in junior high school in Spruce Grove. They've been friends ever since.

Greene told CBC News the medevac flight is scheduled to arrive in Edmonton on Wednesday. From there, an ambulance will take Crawford to a waiting bed at the Cross Cancer Centre.

That's where Adam's birthday party will be held.

"I swear he is the sweetest boy," Greene said.

Crawford and her husband, Cory, were high school sweethearts.

Over the past five years, whenever she was well enough, the family travelled the world — to Disneyland, to Rome, to Japan — trying to cram as many memories as possible into the time they had left.

Now that time is almost up.

"She's doing all of this for Adam," Greene said. "It's very hard to believe the news that she doesn't have long."

Such are the cruelties of cancer.