Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota
Brittany Tornow

School supplies a godsend to mother with cancer

Added on Monday, August 25, 2014

Normally, Brittany Tornow wouldn’t have had the strength to drive to The Salvation Army in Virginia, Minnesota.

“You caught me on a good day today – usually I’m in bed,” the Eveleth resident explained, while waiting in line to pick up new school supplies for her two kids, ages 6 and 7.

Tornow, 27, has been battling cancer for more than a year. Every day is a struggle, both physically and financially.

“Before I started treatment I weighed 135 pounds – now I’m 119,” said Tornow, who’d worked as a certified nursing assistant for six years. “I was used to being independent, then something like this steps in the way – your hair is falling out, you have no energy, and you can’t work. We’re broke all the time.”

Woman handing out notepads and backpacksThanks to Salvation Army back-to-school programs, Tornow has one less bill to worry about. On Aug. 20, she received backpacks, crayons, paper, glue, and other supplies for her children.

More than 90 other families received the assistance at the Virginia Salvation Army, thanks to donations from Iron Range residents and strong support from local businesses, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, U.S. Bank, several mining companies, and others.

Watch Lt. Christina Wise, Virginia Salvation Army administrator, explain more:

“It’s nothing short of amazing what The Salvation Army does,” said Tornow, who was anxious to share her story out of thanks for the people who donated. “This is wonderful. I wouldn’t have been able to buy my kids’ school things without this.”

Thankfully, life is getting better for Tornow. She has just one more round of chemo therapy to go.

“Hopefully I’ll be in remission by the middle of September,” she said. “Once I’m better, I’d like to go back to school to be an ultra-sound technician or for something in the oncology field.”

Little boy standing by a row of backpacksHow You Can Help

Right now, Salvation Army locations across Minnesota and North Dakota are collecting back-to-school supplies for distribution now and year-round.

You can help by donating online or dropping off school supplies at your local Salvation Army. Click on the “Locations” link in the community menu to find the Worship and Service Center location near you.