Local 1626 President Vern Gillis wrote the following plea for help on behalf of Brother Dinsmore and his family.
“As we get older we start being able to put all things into perspective. What I know for sure is that family is not just an important thing, it’s everything. For us wage-earners we soldier on every day for the sake of our families, we work hard to provide all the love, health and wealth we can manage. When one of our union brothers or sisters is suffering, it affects us all.
“The Alaska Railroad Local 1626 has a long-standing tradition of taking care of its members and now we are reaching out to you to help us in a time of profound need. TJ Dinsmore is a third-generation railroader whose son Lucas, now 12-years-old, was diagnosed with lymphoma at the age of 5. Lucas was treated and appeared cancer-free until August 2016.
“Leukemia has already devastated this family as Lucas’ older brother died in 2004 after losing his battle to the disease. TJ’s family knows what it means to deal with indescribable emotional and financial pain.
“Local 1626 has been showing support and compassion for the family as best we can through these tough times: through visits, fundraising efforts, vacation-time donations and anything else we can think of to help.
“We’ve generated support in non-traditional ways, too. Recently, our members unanimously voted to donate a sizeable amount of money to Lucas’ family after settling several grievances with a carrier; retired Engineer/Terminal Manager Pete Hackenberger designed special Alaska Railroad hats made up with ‘Go Lucas’ on the side with all proceeds going to the family; and in our community the Anchorage Great Harvest Bread Company set up a program called Loafs of Love and sold 1,000 loaves of specialty breads, donating all proceeds to the Dinsmore family.
“It has been an honor to support the Dinsmore’s, but it hasn’t been enough. An Alaska Railroad employee created a GoFundMe page in order to fund the balance of tests and treatments Lucas has already received, but it hasn’t generated the amount necessary to cover those expenses. In the spirit of family, we ask you to consider supporting Brother Dinsmore and Lucas on this impossible journey.”
Members can make a donation by going to https://www.gofundme.com/p/tmw3.