Langford Rona employee Debra Downton has helped organize a Vancouver Island-wide fundraising effort for Peter Tennant

Rona employees rally for colleague hit with cancer

Peter Tennant can talk about his fight against cancer with a matter-of-fact shrug. But when it comes to thinking about how his co-workers have rallied to his side, his eyes fill with tears.

Peter Tennant can talk about his fight against cancer with a matter-of-fact shrug. But when it comes to thinking about how his co-workers have rallied to his side, his eyes fill with tears.

Tennant, 59, who works in the lumber department at Rona in Langford, has battled leukemia for four years, and expected his latest round of chemotherapy to keep the illness at bay for a few years more.

Unfortunately that treatment only lasted a short time – in April he was four shifts into his new job at Rona when the doctor gave him the bad news. His only hope is a stem cell transplant from his sister who lives in South Africa, an expensive undertaking.

“I told Rona this is the situation and no one batted an eyelid. No one asked a question, they were just there to help,” Tennant said. “I’m very blessed.”

Rona employee Debra Downton helped organize a fundraising effort involving Rona stores from Victoria to Campbell River. Employees have put their hair and facial hair on the line if fundraising milestones are met.

Scores of employees are willing to have their head shaved at $3,000 and $4,000. One employee is willing to shave off his 1970s-era beard at $5,000. One female is willing to sacrifice her hair at $8,000. The district manager will go bald at $10,000. So far they’re at $2,300.

“I’ll be the only one around with hair,” Tennant joked.

“For me it’s been a humbling experience. The people I’ve met have been so good to me,” he said. ”The people at Rona are so open and wonderful.”

“We are a family here,” Downton added. “Getting Ronas up-Island raises the bar for the amount of funds. We are trying to do as much as we can. Everybody is trying to get to that goal of shaving heads.”

The money will help Tennant fly his sister from South Africa to Vancouver and to house her for a month. Tennant said he’ll need to live in Vancouver for at least a few months and be off work for almost a year.

“There are hidden costs to cancer. The medical system is absolutely wonderful, but some things are not covered,” Tennant said. “I’ve been in Canada 11 years and I’m thankful I didn’t get cancer in South Africa.”

Fundraising by Tennant’s colleagues eases what is an enormous amount of financial and emotional stress on his life.

“I’m fine, I’m the one in the war. It’s very hard on my wife,” he said. “All we can say is somehow we’ll survive, we’ll make it work somehow.”

Rona in Langford and other stores on Vancouver Island are collecting donations for Tennant. Pancake breakfasts and other fundraising events are planned for September.


Just Posted

Neighbour details hearing ‘thuds’ the day girls found dead in Oak Bay

Jury at double-murder trial hears from Andrew Berry’s neighbour

‘Goodness prevails’: neighbours reflect following suspicious death of 60-year-old Metchosin man

Martin Payne was found dead in his Metchosin home on Friday. Police have confirmed foul play.

Family cycling affair Tour de Victoria rolls into ninth year

Riders can sign up for the 160 km Factor race, or distances of 140, 100, 60 30 0r 15 kilometers

Repatriation efforts work to heal and connect through history: Royal BC Museum

Victoria museum’s efforts bolstered by B.C. repatriation grant

Big Lonely Doug among largest old-growth trees now on protection list

B.C. to protect 54 old-growth trees, but critics say it’s not enough

VIDEO: Sparrows raise their chicks in Cadboro Bay deck planter

Jill Yoneda captured 11 days up close with tiny Junco sparrows

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Chinook retention begins on North Island, but amid new size limit

DFO calls measures ‘difficult but necessary’ following rockslide on Fraser River

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

Most Read