“She was 9 weeks old at the time and had a disease called infant Leukemia. It’s one – if not the hardest leukemias to treat. It has a prognosis of 10 to 15 percent survival. We started treatment, which was 6 months of chemo followed by a bone marrow transplant. She ended up with a nearly fatal liver disease and was in the ICU. When we got home we started to kind of put our lives together; we were home for about 10 days and learned that her cancer came back. At that time we were told that there were no treatment options. We’ve always believed that she’d be ok. We never really let ourselves think otherwise. So, we really pushed and wanted our doctor to look for more options. She was about to turn 4. We were registered with kindergarten, we were getting ready for her to start school – she was so excited, and we learned that her cancer had returned again. We caught it really early and we thought that since we caught it early, we’ll be able to fight it. At this point because of everything that she had been through, the doctors started to kind of come onto our side of hope. They helped us and advocated for us. It took the government 3 months to approve the funding for a last treatment that we could try. During that time, she went from being really healthy to needing blood transfusion. So, we went down again to the U.S. and tried this treatment and it didn’t work. When you have Leukemia, your immune system gets wiped-out. So, her immune system got wiped-out and she ended up getting a lung infection and other infections. Because she had all these infections going on, we had to stop treatment. We sort of tried little things for the next year but those infections just kept coming. And she passed away.”


“I’ve always thought that – you know, you can’t go back in time. But I do believe that if we had a health care system that supported kids like my daughter and allowed them to access treatment as soon as they needed it, it would’ve made a difference. She might not have survived but it would’ve made a difference to us knowing that it’s not because we had to wait so long for funding. You know, we live every day with this guilt; just wondering if things could have been different. Ultimately, with her type of cancer, there’s really nothing – 10 to 15 percent chance of survival is not ok. It frustrates me sometimes, because when people hear about cancer, they think that ‘oh, you might have done something’. But you know, when you have kids who have cancer, they haven’t lived long enough to be exposed to the world around them. So, we’ve been picking up the pieces. She’d often tell us that she was the happiest kid. As a mom, I would tell her that it was going to be ok, and she’d say ‘no, this is not ok’. Because of that, we started a foundation. We fund research and we try to provide families with hope. Losing her is the hardest thing – I think, that we’ll ever go through. It took everything just to get up everyday really, but we got up everyday to honour her. She taught us to never give up and we never gave up.”

HUMANS OF OTTAWA 

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