08/18/2014 07:50 EDT | Updated 10/18/2014 05:59 EDT

Halifax couple thankful for outpouring of support as they are treated for cancer

HALIFAX - A Halifax-area couple who have both been diagnosed with cancer say they're grateful for an outpouring of support they've received.

Jill and Jeff MacDonald are both 41 and have been married for 15 years.

Jill has been diagnosed as having cancer in the tibia, while doctors diagnosed Jeff with inoperable stage 4 rectal cancer, which has spread to his liver and lymph nodes.

The couple recently explained the treatment they face to their children and told them they were facing a hard time but expected to get through it together.

Public support for the couple has snowballed into a network of messages and donations from across the country.

An on-line campaign swelled to $88,000 in barely a week, with encouraging words and gifts flowing from all over Canada.

Jill says it has been helpful to know there are so many loving people and she wants them to know she and her husband are thankful.

Jeff has just begun what will be at least nine months of radiation and chemotherapy.

Jill hopes to begin treatment next week.

(Halifax Chronicle Herald)