Smiley battling for his life

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Benefit to be held in Northport native's honour

AMHERST - Derrick Smiley was well on his way to a good life when the unthinkable happened.

The native of Northport had moved to Vancouver to take up a new position with Shoppers Drug Mart and in April was promoted to become one of the youngest store managers in the chain. Then he started the fight of his life.

Smiley battling for his life

AMHERST - Derrick Smiley was well on his way to a good life when the unthinkable happened.

The native of Northport had moved to Vancouver to take up a new position with Shoppers Drug Mart and in April was promoted to become one of the youngest store managers in the chain. Then he started the fight of his life.

"He felt like he had the flu. He thought he was tired just from working the long hours and then he noticed a lump on his chest. He went to the doctor and he was immediately put in the hospital," Steve Ridgway said of his 23-year-old nephew. "Through tests they found he has an extremely rare form of cancer."

Smiley, who graduated from Amherst Regional High School and worked at the Amherst Shoppers Drug Mart, was diagnosed with acute Stage 3 non-Hodgkin's lymphoblastic T-cell lymphoma. Upon being admitted to hospital, CT and MRI scans revealed that he had 20 tumours growing throughout his body.

Smiley's friends are coming together on Sunday, Sept. 2, to hold a benefit to assist the family, members of which have had to leave their jobs to cross the country to be there for Derrick. The benefit will be held at the Amherst branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. Doors open at noon with entertainment from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. featuring many different bands and music styles.

Ridgway said organizers are holding a silent auction of items donated by local companies, there'll be smiley face balloons and tickets are being sold on five larger items. Donations will also be accepted at the door.

"The response to this has been amazing. A lot of people know Derrick from when he worked at Shoppers Drug Mart and want to help out in any way they can," Ridgway said.

Smiley is still a patient at Vancouver General Hospital and is undergoing chemotherapy treatments and battling an infection that must be cleared before he undergoes a stem cell transplant on Sept. 5.

"He's been through a lot in a short period of time," Ridgway said, adding the ordeal has been tough on the family in that his mother and stepfather, Wendy Smiley and Mark Dentith, and his father, David, have all been maintaining homes here and in Vancouver to be with Derrick.

Anyone wishing to support the fundraiser with donations can contact Ridgway at 669-0987, Joyce Hastings at 661-8265 or Dave and Marsh Allen at 243-2936.

dcole@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Shoppers Drug Mart, Amherst Regional High School, Royal Canadian Legion Vancouver General Hospital

Geographic location: Northport, AMHERST, Vancouver

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  • morgan
    January 18, 2010 - 10:39

    hi my name is morgan smiley and im derrick's little brother and im thanking u for your suppport ps:i hope he gets better

  • John
    January 18, 2010 - 10:34

    I don't know if you will see this Mark, But i wanted to let you know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I hope everything works out okay for Derrick.