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GoFundMe started for Okanagan winery worker with lymphoma

The Okanagan wine community is rallying behind one its own who is battling lymphoma.

A GoFundMe campaign is active to help Morton Serbon, his wife, Rene and their two boys get through his treatments at Vancouver General Hospital.

Marton Serbon was most recently the vineyard foreman at Frind Estate Winery in West Kelowna.

He's also previously owned Maximus Vineyard Management and previously worked as a vineyard manager at Arterra Wines' Jackson-Triggs and Blasted Church Winery.

The "Please Help the Serbons!' GoFundMe has a goal of $10,000.

As of Wednesday morning, June 5, $6,195 had been raised from 55 donors.

<who>Photo credit: Contributed</who>The GoFundMe to help Morton Serbon, pictured, and his family was at $4,140 on Monday morning. The goal is $10,000.

The Serbons live in Summerland and neighbour and friend Cheryl Gowler launched the GoFundMe to help Morton beat his cancer, the type that attacks the germ-fighting lymphatic system.

"Our wonderful neighbours, Morton and Rene, are facing some tough times," said Gowler in the GoFundMe notice.

After undergoing a series of tests at Penticton Regional Hospital, Morton was flown to Vancouver General Hospital for more tests and the diagnosis of lymphoma.

He immediately started chemotherapy and dialysis.

<who>Photo credit: Contributed</who>Rene and Morton Serbon in his hospital room at Vancouver General Hospital.

"While Rene travels back and forth to Vancouver General Hospital to be with Morton, Oma (grandma) is taking care of their two boys and two dogs back in Summerland," continued Gowler.

"To help ease the financial burdens they're experiencing, we have set up this GoFundMe."

Rene is self-employed, so she's out of work while she travels back and forth to Vancouver to be with Morton.

Her trips to the coast are also costly with travel expenses and hotel stays.

"Our goal is to reduce these extra costs so they can focus on what matters most -- Morton's recovery and their family," said Gowler.

<who>Photo credit: Contributed</who>Morton Serbon, back, and his family pictured in happier times in downtown Penticton.

The family hopes that Morton will be able to return home at some point to continue his treatments in the Okanagan.

At that time, supporters will be looking to set up a 'meal train' to help provide dinners, driving, running errands and other help to the family.

Another of the Serbons' neighbours and friends, Kim Lawton, is also helping out.

"Morton is a passionate and hardworking member of BC's wine industry," she said.

"He has worked in various vineyards around the Okanagan for the last 16 years...and he was an instructor at Okanagan College for a number of years in the viticulture certificate program."

Lawton is looking at another fundraiser, separate from the GoFundMe.

She's still working out the details, but is looking at collecting donations of wine and wine-related items from wineries and business that can be used in the fundraiser.

Wineries and businesses interested in donation can contact Lawton at 250-488-0878 or klawton@doglegmarketing.ca.

The GoFundMe is at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/please-help-the-serbons



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