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Payback for a good cause: Live Well Challenge creator starts another fundraiser to support Digby dad battling rare cancer

Cape Sable Island fisherman Todd Newell’s challenge to fellow fishing captains and crew in LFAs 33 and 34 to donate $1,000 to charity and take a dip in the bone-chilling waters of a live well on a lobster boat was a big success.
Cape Sable Island fisherman Todd Newell who started the Live Well Challenge. KATHY JOHNSON

CAPE SABLE ISLAND. N.S. – Cape Sable Island fisherman Todd Newell says he’s going to make it up to all the people who have said, jokingly, they would have liked to wring his neck after taking the Live Well Challenge in freezing cold water.

How? He’s going to let a lobster bite the side of his hand.

Why? To help 34-year-old Digby County resident Jordan Morgan, who has a rare form of cancer and needs an expensive chemotherapy drug to help him fight it. The total cost of the treatment he’s looking at is $130,000.

The Live Well Challenge has been an amazing success and for that, Newell extends thanks to everyone who participated and helped out. People are still taking the challenge, which involves jumping into a live well on a boat and donating $1,000 to the charities of their choice. Within less than two weeks there had already been $630,000 raised and that amount has since exceeded $700,000 says Newell. Videos of people accepting the challenge are posted to the Live Well Challenge – Take the Plunge Videos Facebook page.

To be clear, the water in live wells – used to store live lobster catches on boats – is very cold. And so he's letting people have payback, but, once again, for a very worthy cause.

“I had a lot of people say to me ‘Todd, when I got out of that live well if I could have got a hold of your neck I would have strangled you,’” said Newell in a social media video, that was posted to the Live Well Challenge videos Facebook page a few days ago. “So, what I’m going to do is take donations on behalf of Jordan Morgan. I’m asking for a $20 donation and at the end of week I’m going to take a lobster and clamp him right here,” he said, holding the side of his hand. “I’m going to let him bite me so everybody can get me back.”

Newell is also chucking 20 pounds lobster and some other goodies into a pot for a prize.  For every $20 donation to the Jordan Morgan fund, that person’s name will get put in the prize draw.

“Jordan said something to me the other day that really resonated with me,” said Newell. “He said initiative is the only thing standing between the status quo and moving on with living. That is the truth.”

Morgan, a husband and father of two, was diagnosed with a rare sarcoma four years ago after finding a lump in his leg.

“Over the last few years, Jordan has undergone multiple treatments and surgeries to remove tumours and to try and keep ahead of his diagnosis. Fast-forward to present day, the tumour has now moved into his lower right lung, remaining diaphragm and liver. The treatment options to give him more time to enjoy his family are growing fewer and more expensive,” reads Morgan’s story on the GoFundMe page Jordan Fights Rare Cancer https://www.gofundme.com/jordan-fights-rare-cancer

The new chemo treatment, proposed by his oncologist, costs $15,000 per dose – $130,000 for the full treatment – and is not covered under any program.

“In an effort to secure his own funding, Jordan has made multiple phone calls and emails to the health minister, MLA, Canadian Cancer Society, Cancer Navigator and even directly to the drug company themselves. So far, he hasn’t heard word back so we turn to you, GoFundMe, in an effort to aid in the costs of this treatment he needs,” reads his story.

So far Morgan has been able to raise about half the money needed for treatments. A number of donations have also come from the Live Well Challenge.

“I had my first treatment today and have begun my road to recovery,” said Morgan in a public Facebook post on Feb. 5.

“That's right, I'm quitting cancer. Everything went well. I was very hungry on the way home so I stopped to get a burger. But then I remembered what happened to Jack Nicholson in The Bucket List. I erred on the side of Morgan Freeman and had soup and crackers,” he said. “And thank you to everyone who has helped me obtain funding for the first three months of treatment. Six months less a day to go for treatment and half way to the fundraising goal.”

Anyone wanting to contribute to the fundraiser and have their name entered in the draw, and see a lobster bite Todd Newell’s hand, can send a cheque made out to Jordan Morgan Fund to Todd Newell, P.O. Box 176, Clark’s Harbour B0W 1P0.   E-transfers can be to morgan_83@live.com.

“I’m not expecting to raise 40 or 50 thousand dollars but any amount we can raise would be appreciated,” said Newell.

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