A Petrolia yard sale with heart


When Patti Marshall heard her yet-to-be born grandson was going to need heart surgery, she knew she had to help. So she and her friends and relatives started baking and collecting items for a yard sale during Petrolia’s Town Wide Yard Sale.

Baby James and his parents Leah Marshall and Doug Brent will need a lot of financial help since the heart problems, which were discovered by doctors just six weeks ago, will have to be repaired at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.

Leah and her daughter, Lily, were on hand for the event, watching as friends and neighbours picked up tarts and cookies all to help them with travel expenses. While it was heart warming, the greatest gift came from a woman Leah had never met.

A woman from Brooke-Alvinston came to tell the family everything was going to be just fine. Her grandchild had come through with flying colours after the exact same surgery. “I’m up on a cloud right now,” says Leah as she watched the yard-salers, admitting that for a while, she felt she was the only one who had ever been through this with a child.

While doctors have been very positive about the success of little James’s surgery – they’re giving her a 99.9 per cent chance of success – Leah says the woman told her what to expect and that has eased her mind. “It’s nice to know someone else went through this,” she says.

That gift of peace of mind and the outpouring of her parent’s friends was overwhelming for Leah. “This is bigger than what I thought. It is more than I can ever thank anyone for. March was a horrible month… It was hard to slap a smile on my face.”

Now, she says she can be more positive. That’s music to her mother Patti’s ears. “They have enough burdens,” says Patti. “I wanted to take that financial burden off.”