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Preston corn maze raises money for daughter with cancer

During fall, a lot of people go to corn mazes to get scared or to get in the Halloween spirit. But one corn maze in Preston brings a little different feel. People going to a first-year corn maze are doing it for a cause – to help a mother fight cancer.

When you make a stop at an old dairy farm on 700 N 800 W in Preston, you’ll find a lot to see. A pumpkin walk with pumpkins to buy and others on display, such as the infamous “Napolean Dynamite.”

There’s also homemade treats and a crime scene investigation game – farm style. These are all things that have drawn people to the new seasonal destination and made it popular this season.

But the main attraction is the corn maze itself.

“We had never even been in a maze before we planted this,” said Gerry Crookston, who runs the corn maze with her husband.

With unused ground, the Crookstons wanted to find a use for it. In June, the couple decided to try a corn maze.

Fast forward to mid-August and that maze became something else – a fundraiser for their daughter, Tracy Barnes.

“She thought she was going in for an infection, some kind of lung infection,” Crookston said. “Yeah, that’s not what happened.”

Instead, Barnes was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which spread to her right lung. She had two liters of fluid drained from her lung, then a week later, another two liters. Barnes now has a constant drainage tube in her back.

Barnes is currently undergoing treatment at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City. That leaves her husband and six kids with travel expenses and a growing pile of medical bills.

So her parents decided to make the maze a fundraiser to help out.

Crookston said they originally thought they’d be lucky to get $5,000 but Crookston said they passed that.

“We’re hoping just from the maze that we may be able to get $10,000 for her and to me, that’s amazing,’ Crookston said. “That’s amazing here to do that when Tracy hasn’t been in this community for a long time. There aren’t really a lot of people that know her here and still, people are just so generous. We have a lot of people that come and say, ‘Yeah, there’s a lot of mazes we could go to but yours is the best cause so we decided to come here.'”

The family also sold bracelets to raise money…”Team up for Tracy” and “Believe in Miracles” on the bracelets speak to the true spirit behind the Crookstons’ maze.

Crookston said even though it’s been hard, there has been some good that’s come out of the family’s trials.

“The amazing thing to me in what has happened to Tracy is to see how many good people there are here and in this world,” Crookston said emotionally. “That’s amazing to see.”

Barnes, her husband and six kids live in McAmmon. And cancer isn’t the family’s only challenge. Barnes’ husband owns a trucking business in McAmmon which burned down a week ago and was a total loss.

Crookston said there have been other fundraisers from kind friends and neighbors in McAmmon as well and knowing all that support is out there, is really boosting Barnes’ spirits.

Since the corn maze will be open through Halloween night, there were no set numbers on how much money they actually raised but Crookston said the support has been amazing.

The corn maze is 1.2 acres but Crookston said they plan to do the maze again next year and go bigger and better with it.

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