Residents in Saint John are coming together to help cover the travel costs for a local woman travelling to Toronto for a major surgery.

Eileen Shaw was diagnosed with stage three cancer of the esophagus back in February. It was news that would change the lives of her family forever.

“Since then she's struggled to find the proper medical attention,” says Brittany Shaw, Eileen’s daughter.

Faced with several obstacles,Eileen’s family scrambled to find a thoracic surgeon in New Brunswick , only to learn the doctor they found in Moncton said her case was too complicated.

"Her surgery is kind of high risk,” says Brittany Shaw. “It's just basically beyond the scope of what New Brunswick’s capacity is."

Now in her second week of chemotherapy, Eileen is preparing for surgery that can only be done in Toronto. The family says that could cost as much as $10,000.

But residents from Eileen’s building are doing their part to alleviate some of the family's financial stress.

"We were able to give her a donation of $2,600,” says building manager Kevin McDonald. "It's the people here. We are very fortunate."

“It's fulfilling to be able to help someone,” says building resident Diane Blackwell. "(Eileen’s) always smiling. She's a very happy person."

Brittany Shaw has also launched a GoFundMe page. With Monday’s donation, the family should have at least $5,000.

“Yesterday was Mother's Day, and you're scrolling through social media and you see everybody with their healthy moms, and you wonder how many of those (days) you get left," Brittany Shaw says.

Eileen will have to continue treatment for the next five weeks. Surgery is not guaranteed, but her assessment will happen in Toronto four to six weeks after her chemotherapy.

Brittany Shaw it will be an extremely high-risk procedure.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mary Cranston.