A family and a community are in mourning after single mom and Blackfalds RCMP officer Jamie Carswell passed away at the age of 34 on Dec. 21st after a 11-year battle with breast cancer.
A GoFundMe, which was originally set up to help cover the costs of building a wheelchair-accessible home for Carswell and her five-year-old son Lincoln in Blackfalds, is now being used to help cover costs for Jamie’s parents Robert Allen and Pauline Carswell to help raise Lincoln.
Jamie was originally diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer shortly after graduating the RCMP Depot Division training.
“She completed the very long, strenuous training while having cancer,” Jamie’s sister Jessica Carswell Ryan said. “By the time they found it, she had just graduated on Dec. 10th and then it was diagnosed the day before her 24th birthday — which is Feb. 7th. It was already Stage 3 by that point. So her entire training including grappling, running, and getting pepper sprayed — she did with Stage 3 cancer.
“She was tired, but she didn’t complain. She got up daily like the rest of her troop mates and she did it hard. She loved it.”
After being diagnosed, Jamie’s cancer led to her asking a good friend of her’s to be a surrogate mother for Lincoln.
“Her world came alive when he was born. She was a single mom with a passion to help others, including myself and my husband,” Jessica said.
Lincoln, who plays hockey in Blackfalds, will now be cared for by Jamie’s parents in the house that was being built for Jamie’s accessibility needs.
“My parents sold their house last October, a house in Morrisroe they lived in for 31 years,” Jessica said. “They sold it to help build this wheelchair-accessible house where they would live all together — my dad, mom, Jamie and Lincoln.
“My parents are still going forward with the build and they are not changing anything about the house. It was my sister’s dream to have this home, not only for her and her son but she also wanted to give our parents a house to retire and grow old in.”
Jamie chose the community of Blackfalds to build her home in because she wanted Lincoln to have the great support she witnessed through her time working with the Blackfalds RCMP.
“Jamie chose to build the house in Blackfalds because of the community out there,” Jessica said. “She was posted there and she loved the community. She loved all the activities that the Abbey Centre put on and she loved all the community events in Blackfalds.
“She chose Blackfalds instead of Red Deer because she wanted to have that community for Lincoln to grow up in.”
Jessica, who is only 16 months younger than Jamie described her sister as her best friend, and added the friendships Jamie forged with her colleagues at the RCMP will be friendships the Carswell family will cherish and keep forever.
Building friendships was something that came easily to Jamie, according to her sister, and Jessica wanted people to know that Jamie loved being a mom, camping, her dog Huxley, going on holidays with her son, peacock feathers and their colours, owls, theme parties, fireworks, parades, Remembrance Day ceremonies and her RCMP family.
Jessica added Jamie told her daughter Payton, 7, shortly before her passing, “Don’t hoard love. Share it.”
The Carswells are hoping that people continue to support the GoFundMe which goes to support Lincoln and Jamie’s parents. The campaign is currently at $13,298, which is well above the original $10,000 goal.
Jessica added that if you are unable to reach out financially that she hopes you can reach out to her parents and Lincoln with your support.
The Carswells are grateful for all the support they have received so far — including on Nov. 24th when they held a fundraiser with Jamie at Elephant and Castle in Red Deer.
“I want to thank everyone for their support and the contributions towards the GoFundMe and also to everyone who made it out to Elephant and Castle on November 24th. That fundraiser raised a lot of money and us Carswells are thankful.”