Courtenay woman tirelessly works for pancreatic cancer research

On Oct. 8, 2011 — the day after her wedding — Tanessa Martin Tilsley lost her father and best friend, Rodney Tilsley, to pancreatic cancer.

TANESSA TILSLEY HONOURS her late father Rodney by raising funds for cancer research.

On Oct. 8, 2011 — the day after her wedding — Tanessa Martin Tilsley lost her father and best friend, Rodney Tilsley, to pancreatic cancer.

The 21-year-old Courtenay resident decided to take her grief and everything she knew about her father — especially his belief that says ‘No matter the diagnosis, there is always hope’ — and turn it into a passion for change.

This year she spent a laborious amount of time collecting pop cans and bottles from friends and family, raising $750 for the Relay for Life. To put this in perspective, $750 translates into 15,000 pop cans.

Tanessa’s new goal is to raise at least $1,000 through a website called Indiegogo for pancreatic cancer research.

She has set a deadline of Oct. 8, a year to the day since her father passed away. However, she does not plan to stop fundraising anytime soon.

“My campaign is to raise money for hope,” Tanessa said. “To raise money so one day a little girl doesn’t have to say goodbye to her best friend like I had to.”

Tanessa is accepting donations and recyclables. She is willing to do the “dirty work” as she calls it. She will even pick up the bottles herself.

Contact Tanessa at To donate, visit

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