Cans stolen from donation for cancer patient

Grants Pass, Ore. —  A local medical clinic is collecting bottles and cans to raise money for a woman fighting cancer. By Thursday, the group had received hundreds of donations. Then, a thief struck, and stole them all.

Just 24 hours ago, the back patio was covered with large black containers filled with hundreds of cans and bottles. But after thieves broke in Thursday night, there isn’t one left.

“Came through this gate and they broke the lock,” said Angela Potter. Potter is an administrator at Riverside Home Healthcare.

“Then went back out through the gate and now we have a brand-new lock,” Potter said.

She’s also one of the people heading up a project to gather cans and bottles for a co-worker fighting cancer.

“A longtime employee – she’s an RN. She’s been fighting leukemia,” Potter said.

Rachel Brockett-Bell has been fighting the disease for four years and it’s an ongoing battle.

“They actually just had to remove one of her eyes and her other eye is not functioning, so she’s legally blind now,” Potter said.

Which is why Bell’s coworkers decided to start a bottle and can drive.

“Her family is really struggling, she has three kids that she supports,” Potter said.

The healthcare center was making good progress with around 10 to 15 bags filled with cans.

“Probably against this wall all the way to the back wall,” Potter said.

That was, until thieves broke in and stole all their hard work.

“My coworker, Shelly, drove over to the Bottle Drop because she said there’s only one place in town where you can return cans and if someone took them, she’d probably there,” Potter said.

Shelly ended up seeing three men with the exact black containers from the healthcare center.

“Told them that this is for one of our friends dealing with cancer,” Potter said.

But their answer was less than sympathetic.

“They’re just bottles and cans. They’re not going to hurt anybody,” Potter said.

Organizers said, despite the theft, they’re continuing the drive for Rachel.

“She’s just a really giving person, a really selfless person – would never ask anyone for help but would give anything she had,” Potter said.

Police weren’t able to get the cans back, because the clinic didn’t have proof the cans they saw were theirs. Organizers said you can still drop off cans and bottles at the clinic located on 402 SE G Street in Grants Pass. If you don’t have any bottles to donate, but would still like to give to the cause – organizers have created a GoFundMe Page.

NBC5 News Reporter and Weather Forecaster Nikki Torres graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Strategic Communication from The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication.

She also received a minor in Business Administration from the Washington State University Carson College of Business. Prior to coming to NBC5, Nikki was an intern at KHQ Local News, the NBC affiliate in Spokane.

She comes to Southern Oregon from the state of Washington, where she grew up just south of Seattle. She loves running, exploring the Pacific Northwest, watching a good football game and spending time with her dog, Gisele. True to her roots, Nikki is a proud WSU Cougar fan and loyal Seahawks fan.

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