2021 Run for Childhood Cancer
Little Golden Stars
Believe in the Gold, Little Golden Star - Jordyn
16-year-old Jordyn is a competitive swimmer who was diagnosed with Lymphoma of the stomach just before this past Halloween in 2019. After months of blood tests to find the source of her low iron and hemoglobin, Jordyn was diagnosed with Pancreatitis. Her family finally got answers when tests were done to find the cause of the Pancreatitis. It was then that a stomach Lymphoma was found. She has now had three courses of chemo, including one over Christmas. Jordyn’s friends have tried to see her as much as possible during this time, and she has done her best to keep up with her homework, but she really misses her swimming. In fact, she counts her happiest moment since diagnosis as the first time she was able to get back into the pool. As someone whose family has always tried to eat healthily and stay active, this was a particularly important milestone to Jordyn as the ill-effects from the chemo has made it challenging to keep up her active lifestyle. Jordyn’s advice to others - “You know your body better than anybody else. If something doesn’t feel quite right, say so. Had my family not been so adamant, my cancer might have gone unnoticed, and therefore, untreated.” – Jordyn
Believe in the Gold, Little Golden Star - David
David was diagnosed with Wilms Tumour in July 2019, just days after his third birthday and a mere three weeks after his little sister was born. He immediately had 4 weeks of treatment, followed by surgery to remove the tumour in early August, and he is now in the middle of 6 months of postoperative chemotherapy. During this time, the family has worked hard to find some balance of normal life with a newborn while ensuring that David eats well and participates in the everyday life of a preschooler. He loves going to school, going to the Science Centre and visits with friends, as well as building with magnatiles, music, dancing, and listening to stories. Family time is so important, and they have done what they can to make use of every weekend and holiday that they have. The family is very grateful for all the support that they have received from family and friends during this time, including weekly dinners, play dates, and offers to babysit.
Believe in the Gold, Little Golden Star - Daniel
In 2018 Daniel was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 11. Since then, he has been on an intensive Chemotherapy, 3-4 times a week at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. His treatment is supposed to last for 3 ½ years. It has been very tough but he feels well now. It hasn’t always been like this, though- one scary moment was when he had an anaphylactic reaction to one of his medications and was unable to breathe. It made him very anxious to receive further treatments and afraid of other drug treatments. Daniel was an active competitive soccer player and a drummer before his diagnosis. Since that time, he hasn’t been back to school due to his intensive treatment and suppressed immune system and he hasn’t been able to play soccer. Instead, Daniel has found joy and companionship in a puppy named Toby that his parents bought him. He walks Toby often, jumps on a rebounder for exercise, drinks lots of water, eats healthy, and has cut out sugar. Most importantly, Daniel tries to stay positive. His advice to others – “Don’t give up!”
Believe in the Gold, Little Golden Star - Jake
Jake was diagnosed with High-Risk Neuroblastoma in 2018 just days before his first birthday. He immediately began the first of several rounds of chemotherapy, which was followed by radiation to his brain and treatment with a chimeric antibody. Jake spent many weeks in the hospital because of illness and infections, accompanied each night by Mom, Dad or Grandma. It became impossible for both parents to work, and Jake’s mom quit her career of 15 years to be with him.
Believe in the Gold, Little Golden Star - Brie-Lynn
At just over a year old, Brie-Lynn was diagnosed with Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma, a large tumour in her stomach. But that wasn’t where her story began. Months before, she had been coming down with inexplicable fevers, one after another. It was only after a cross-Canada road trip to visit family in Ontario that her family really saw that something was wrong. Brie couldn’t sit comfortably for long periods of time, which were typical for family trips. Her little baby belly was hard to the touch. The diagnosis came quickly after this. Once the family found out about the tumour, it seemed to kick start its growth. Brie- Lynn could no longer walk. The tumour was so large it was pushing on her major organs and vascular system. The tumour threatened kidney function (which could have put her into kidney failure), and the redirection of blood flow made her tummy very veiny. What came next for Brie’s cancer protocol was 43 weeks of aggressive chemo (4 different types of chemo drugs), surgery and 20 sessions of abdominal radiation (once the tumour shrunk to a peach size). When that was completed, there were an additional 6 months of maintenance chemo. Now the family deals with the aftermath of dental decay, future concerns of post-treatment conditions to major organs, and the possibility of a relapse. Brie has had to grow up so fast. She now loves putting make-up and perfume on. She loves playing with LOL dolls, dancing and singing to the Old Town Road song (this song makes her laugh). Being tickled makes her laugh uncontrollably. She loves her iTunes to watch videos. She loves camping and campfires. Brie-Lynn’s parent’s advice for other parents with Childhood Cancer, “Go with your gut feelings, Be their voice. Use Child Life and connect with whatever support is offered.”
Believe in the Gold, Little Golden Star - Auralia
9-year-old Auralia was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in November 2018, just weeks before her 8th birthday. Two days after admission, she had surgery to have a PICC line inserted in her arm/bone marrow biopsy because she was too sick with the flu to have an IVAD placed. The first month was a blur of induction, bone marrow biopsies, spinal taps, testing and a whole lot of chemo. She then had 6 months of consolidation therapy, which consisted of admissions every 3 weeks for 2-3 days as well as the list of other daily and weekly meds. She is now in maintenance chemotherapy, which is 2.5 years total, Auralia has 1.5 years left to go. Auralia is doing much of her education at home with her mom to limit her time out in public, and keep her healthy. The family does get out into the outdoors as much as possible, and they love the mountains, hiking and nature. The best feeling since diagnosis has been watching Auralia get stronger and being able to hike and climb further and further. So far, her longest hike/climb since diagnosis is 8.5 km into a cirque between two mountains in Kananaskis. Her parents also really enjoyed watching Auralia finally get the chance to ride a horse, thanks to a family friend. Jet is a musical ride horse who dances! It was amazing to watch her feed, groom and ride Jet, and she even managed to get him to walk backwards (with a little help). Auralia’s parent’s biggest advice to other parents – “Never doubt your gut instincts. Always be the biggest advocate for your child.”