Co-workers rally for 911 dispatcher battling cancer

Michelle O'Malley, 39, is a single mom battling stage 4 cancer

Michelle O'Malley and her daughter Ashley in an undated, courtesy photo provided November 20, 2017
Michelle O'Malley and her daughter Ashley in an undated, courtesy photo provided November 20, 2017

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Michelle O’Malley is trained to handle all sorts of emergencies. She’s a 911 dispatcher with 12 years experience at the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency.

But recently she wasn’t feeling well.

“She had some pain in her right side, near her liver,” her friend and CRESA co-worker Marcy McMahon said. “The doctor thought it might be gall stones so she went in for an ultra sound, which led to an MRI, which is where they found some liver masses. Turns out it started in her colon and she’s just 39-years-old, 39-years-old with stage 4 cancer.”

YouCaring for Michelle O’Malley

Monday, O’Malley’s friends and co-workers at CRESA — who call her Mo (after her initials) — went to her house and put some tender loving touches all over it.

McMahon said they call this “the Mo movement,” and said they’ve developed the hashtag, “MomoStrong.”

Marcy McMahon, a co-worker and friend of Michelle O'Malley, November 20, 2017 (KOIN)
Marcy McMahon, a co-worker and friend of Michelle O’Malley, November 20, 2017 (KOIN)

“Michelle has a very caring heart. She’ll do anything for anyone,” McMahon said. “She’s a dedicated employee, dedicated friend and most of all a dedicated mother.”

O’Malley’s daughter, Ashley, means everything to her, McMahon said. “That’s what this fight is all about. More time with Ashley.”

Co-worker Cassandra Deering said Mo “always wanted to take her daughter to Disneyland and the doctor advised her that she’d going to be starting chemo in a couple of weeks, so we wanted to make sure that happened before the chaos starts.”

Cassandra Deering, a co-worker and friend of Michelle O'Malley, November 20, 2017 (KOIN)
Cassandra Deering, a co-worker and friend of Michelle O’Malley, November 20, 2017 (KOIN)

Her work family pulled together for that, but the love and support doesn’t stop there.

“No one wants to come home to clean house or do laundry or do yard work when you’re fighting for your life,” McMahon said. “So anything anyone can do to make her life easier right now, we’re trying to do that.”

“She’s aware some (cleanup) stuff is going on,” Deering said, “but I don’t think to the magnitude, no.”

Volunteers spruced up Mo’s home, from yard work to cleaning to repairs.

“We’ve had carpet cleaning donation, that’s coming out next week,” McMahon said. “Window cleaning donation, people donating new bedding, new everything you can imagine. Just for comfort for her.”

They’re calling the movement “MomoStrong” and hope she sees how much she’s loved by everybody.

Michelle O'Malley and her daughter Ashley were greeted by friends at PDX, November 22, 2017 (Courtesy: Cassandra Deering)
Michelle O’Malley and her daughter Ashley were greeted by friends at PDX, November 22, 2017 (Courtesy: Cassandra Deering)

“We’re all going to be here to help her fight,” Deering said. “We know the battle is long, but we want to make sure that she and Ashley know that we are all there for her in every possible way.”

UPDATE:

Cassandra Deering told KOIN 6 News Mo and Ashley had a great trip to Disneyland, and their flight home was even more special. Delta upgraded them to 1st class, they were given a chance to go in the cockpit and the captain gave Ashley his Delta captain pin. Now, Deering said, Ashley doesn’t want to be a veterinarian, she wants to be a pilot.

Mo’s car got fixed and had new tires put on, and Mo was amazed when she saw how her friends made her house sparkle.