Bend▶️ Bend woman receives outpouring of help for bucket list

▶️ Bend woman receives outpouring of help for bucket list

▶️ Bend woman receives outpouring of help for bucket list

▶️ Bend woman receives outpouring of help for bucket list

By her vivacious attitude, you couldn’t tell she only has weeks to live, but her body and mind are getting ready to depart.

Martha Sylvester, a Bend resident, sits across from me with a smile on her face.

We share tears, jokes, and reflect on her story.

Sylvester’s 23-year-old daughter Amber, passed the day after Mother’s Day in 2016 of ovarian cancer.

Six years later, Sylvester is losing her own battle with a rare cancer.

Though her life is reaching its conclusion, the outpouring of support from the Central Oregon community has made her last experiences something special.

“Got up one morning and was going to take my granddaughter to the store,” Sylvester said, recounting how the pain started.

That’s when Martha felt something wasn’t right.

“And I fell,” Sylvester said “My legs wouldn’t move.”

She was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer found in 6 out of every 1 million American women each year.

With weeks left to live, Martha just wants her loved ones to be okay.

“And not necessarily be there crying but laughing like ‘oh my gosh I remember that’ you know?” Sylvester said.

After posting on Facebook looking for someone to make an end of life video, a local photographer and makeup artist volunteered to help.

“I mean taking a few photos is like nothing and we just wanted to support her and her family as much as we could,” said Justinna Rosett, the photographer.

“I didn’t even look like me,” Sylvester said “I felt like a little girl playing dress-up.”

During the shoot, Martha was asked about her bucket list.

“And she took this pause and in a very quiet moment she said…” said Kiley Jennings, the makeup artist.

“Might be fishing to some people, but it’s way more than that,” said Sylvester.

She wanted to catch a fish and spend time with her husband.

“It’s just that thing, you know,” Sylvester said “And when I catch it and to see the smile on his face and stuff and see it in his eyes.”

Now the community stepped up for her wish.

“I posted it, and sure enough and then within minutes the community just all rallied together,” Jennings said.

Martha and her husband are going fishing this Saturday thanks to the kindness of strangers.

Social media is doing more, with people donating and offering their services for Martha and her family in her final weeks.

“I’ve been blessed, I’ll say that, just been blessed by the people of Central Oregon,” Sylvester said.

“The pulse of Bend, in my opinion, is to give and to love,” Jennings said.

As for Martha, she’s just worried about her loved ones.

“I’m good with it,” Sylvester said “I’m ready. I’m ready. It’s just everyone else I’m worried about.”

But she’s taking things one step at a time and is grateful for those that are helping her along the way.

“And people say I smile all the time,” Sylvester said “I’d rather do this than pout.”

You can donate to Sylvester’s GoFundMe here to support her and her family.
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