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City shuts down cancer patient's garage sales: Cheap shot?

Jan Cline of Salem. Ore., turned to garage sales to raise money for cancer treatments

jan cline, multiple myeloma, bone cancer
Jan Cline, 64, of Salem, Ore., turned to garage sales to raise money for cancer treatments

(CBS/AP) How do you pay your medical bills when you're out of work and battling terminal cancer?

A Salem, Ore. woman in that predicament set up garage sales in her backyard - but the local government shut her down, saying they violated city ordinances.

City officials shut down 64-year-old Jan Cline's backyard garage sales because rules limit residents to three yard sales per year to prevent permanent flea-market-type sales on residential properties, according to a report by KATU-TV. Cline lost her job and was looking to raise money for treatment costs after being diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an illness that causes holes in her bones that leave them vulnerable to fractures.

Cline said the sales were bringing in hundreds of dollars each weekend until a neighbor complained and the city sent a shutdown order. She said she understands the city's intent, which is why she tried to be less of a nuisance by holding the sales in her backyard.

"I hope no one else has to give their lives away for nickels and dimes and then be told they can't even do that," Cline tells KATU. "I hope nobody else has to do this ever."

Salem officials say their motives aren't cruel - the rule, they say, is to protect citizens. When they heard her plight, town officials began looking for alternative ways to help, KATU reported. Salem's mayor, Anna Paterson, said she's looking to move her yard sale to a commercially zoned area. Cline would much rather them grant an exception instead, since moving is difficult for her.

Multiple myeloma strikes over 20,000 Americans each year, killing nearly 11,000. It's a cancer of the bone marrow's plasma cells that form tumors on the bone. It can also result in numbness, weakness, and pain.

Cline told KATU the cancer "eats through the bones and causes holes in the bones so that just by walking I can break a bone."

Survival varies since some cases are more aggressive than others, but medications and radiation therapy can help relieve symptoms and prolong life.

Once the story went viral, Cline's friends set up a Facebook and donation page, which has already raised over $16,000.

"I am totally amazed at the generosity of people and how quickly it's growing," she said.

The National Cancer Institute has more on multiple myeloma.