British Columbia

Friends and family raise money for single mother with cancer who saved teenage boys

A woman battling cancer who recently rescued four teenage boys from the bottom of a ravine is getting support from an unlikely friend.

Lelania Chapman is undergoing treatment for breast cancer

For her seventh birthday, Violet Barber set up a lemonade stand for her best friend and neighbour, Lelania Chapman. (CBC)

A woman battling cancer who recently rescued four teenage boys from the bottom of a ravine is getting support from an unlikely friend. 

Lelania Chapman is a single mother from Maple Ridge, B.C., with breast cancer. Tumours were found recently in her thigh and hip. 

Support for Lelania has partly come in the form of her seven-year-old neighbour, Violet Barber. 

​"Lelania is like her best friend. She adores her," said Violet's mother, Natasha Barber.

"She has sleepovers at her house. Whenever we go to the store, she wants to buy a present for Lelania."

Lelania Chapmann with her nine-year-old son, Gwindin. (Jesse Johnston/CBC)

Violet knows Chapman is fighting for her life, and she's trying to help.

Instead of a party for her seventh birthday on Thursday, Violet sold lemonade and cookies so she could donate the proceeds to the crowdfunding campaign her mother has started for Chapman. 

Her neighbour's disability insurance runs out soon, and the nausea and weakness from Chapman's ongoing treatment are keeping her from returning to work to pay for bills, food, medicine and rent.

Natasha Barber said Violet helps out in other ways too.

Proceeds from the lemonade stand went to support Lelania Chapman. (CBC)

"A few days ago, Violet went over there and Lelania was having a really rough day," said Natasha Barber.

"Violet was combing her hair for her and Lelania said it made her day and totally cheered her up."

Chapman's nine-year-old son, Gwindin, was also helping out with the lemonade stand. 

The goal is to raise $15,000 for Chapman, hoping she'll be able to return to work by January. 

With files from Jesse Johnston