Online fundraiser ramps up to support daughters of Squamish single mom

Muriel Hanson most worried about her girls as she faces terminal cancer

Squamish single mom, Muriel "Mouse" Hanson, is still in shock, she said, of her recent terminal cancer diagnosis.

She is currently at Squamish General Hospital where she has to lie on her stomach to alleviate her constant back pain.

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"I really just thought I had thrown my back out," she told The Chief. "But then it came back that no, — the cancer had spread."

A little over a week ago, Hanson received the devastating and shocking news that she has Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis (LC) in her brain and spine. She got the news while she was waiting at Vancouver General Hospital to hear what was going to be done to relieve her back discomfort.

LC is a rare complication of cancer where the disease spreads to the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

"I am terminal. There's no way around that," Hanson said. "They just give rough estimated timelines, it isn't exact, but anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months."

Hanson, whose friends call her Mouse, has battled cancer before.

In 2009, she underwent a thyroidectomy, which included the removal of four lymph nodes to deal with thyroid cancer.

 Last year, after some issues with her nose, she was eventually diagnosed with sinonasal-undifferentiated carcinoma, a very rare and aggressive cancer that targets the lining of the nasal passage and sinus. 

After surgery six months ago to remove part of her nose, which Hanson said went well and was healing nicely, she thought a recent bout of severe back pain was a simple matter that, at worst, surgery could fix.

Though currently facing an uncertain future, Hanson's voice is strong and she finds the positive even in her current situation.

She's grateful to be back in Squamish, where her seven and 10-year-old daughters, family and other visitors can pop up and see her more easily, rather than them having to travel to the city to see her.

Mostly, she's focused on her girls and their futures.

"I don't think they totally get the grasp of it yet," she said.

Hanson talks of making sure the girls have the opportunity to say all they want to their mom "so they don't have any regrets." Eventually, they will be taken out of school to spend more time with her, but for now, she wants them to have as much normalcy and routine as possible.

They come up and visit, maybe eat their mom's pudding, chat and then go back to their grandma's house.

The girls will remain with her mom, Hanson said.

Many in Squamish have already rallied to support Hanson since the most recent news of her terminal diagnoses was shared on local social media.

Offers have included everything from meals for Hanson's family to ongoing love and support for her daughters, to free legal support and counselling, she said.

A GoFundMe campaign, which was originally launched by a friend to help Hanson pay her bills while undergoing cancer treatment, currently aims to raise funds to "help set the girls up for their bright future."

To donate, go to Help Support Muriel 'Mouse' Hanson."

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