Community supports Maple Ridge girl after mother’s death

Gofundme campaign for six-year-old who lost mom to cancer

Kathryn Melissa Byer with her daughter Zoey. (Special to The News)

There has been a generous outpouring of support for a little girl from Maple Ridge, Zoey, who lost her mother to cancer.

Kathryn Melissa Byer died on Oct. 19, at the age of 33. She died at Abbotsford Regional Cancer Centre, after a long battle with the disease, surrounded by her sisters and father.

“Kathryn was an amazing woman whose one big goal in life was to be a mother,” said the social media page that tells her story, created by Sharon Rubin, the late mother’s aunt. “She always loved kids and devoted her personal and professional life to them.”

In its first four days of accepting donations, the gofundme account has raised almost $20,000 toward her six-year-old daughter’s future.

“I’m incredibly grateful to Kathryn’s friends and family, but also people in the community,” Rubin told The News. “We’re trying to create a memory book for Zoey, too, so people can see how much people loved Kathryn.

Rubin noted that the funds will be added to the small trust fund Kathryn was able to leave her daughter. These funds will be used as needed during her childhood, for things like piano lessons, braces, or whatever is needed. It will be used for post secondary schooling, and then given to Zoey as an adult to launch her life, as per Kathryn’s wishes.

Byer received degrees in early childhood education and business. She was a supervisor at Creative Kids Daycare, overseeing more than 200 children, and dreamt of one day starting her own daycare. Her other great passion was mountain biking, and in her four years living in Maple Ridge, she explored the local trails.

READ ALSO: Community steps up for Maple Ridge mom battling cancer

She was diagnosed in January 2020 with stage 3B cancer she began aggressively fighting. Sadly, by Christmas Eve 2020 she was again diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

“Even throughout chemo and radiation she kept a loving positive outlook,” said Rubin. “Although her cancer journey was difficult and at times painful, she recognized the blessing of spending more time with Zoey and continued to fight for every moment with her daughter.”

“Her dying wish was that Zoey have the love and guidance and support needed to launch into adulthood. Kathryn wanted desperately to provide for a solid future for Zoey. Unfortunately she only had six short years with Zoey and cannot leave her with all the financial resources she would have liked to to carry her through the next decades into adulthood. Although Zoey has a loving and involved father, she will miss out on the love and support of her mother.”

A celebration of life is being planned for Nov. 13, from noon to 5 p.m. at her home. Message Rubin for the address at sharon.rubin.2005@gmail.com.

“If you knew Kathryn or she touched your life in some way please come and join us!” invites Rubin. “We will be gathering as many stories as we can to offer to Zoey in a keepsake journal.”

READ ALSO: Greg Moore Youth Centre celebrates 20 years in Maple Ridge


Have a story tip? Email: ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

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