It was the first day of school, September 2017, and our three daughters were off on the bus – just a normal day. Thirty minutes later everything changed. We received a call from our family doctor. Lexi had recently had an x-ray and the radiologist saw something in her bone. The doctor told us it looks like cancer and that we would be going to Children’s Hospital the next day.
Things moved very quickly. After a few tests and a consult, a biopsy was scheduled for the following week. Soon after the biopsy, they knew the diagnosis and we had another consult. There were so many people in the room when we got the news: our 12-year-old daughter had bone cancer. Osteosarcoma. Our lives were turned upside down and inside out.
Lexi didn't let any of this phase her. She was brave right from the beginning, all the way through the journey. One of her sisters had a rough time trying to comprehend it all. A friend and previous classmate had passed away from a different form of cancer just two days after her sister's diagnosis. Of course she was assured that her sister's cancer was not the same, and didn't carry the same risks.
That diagnosis day, I felt like I had gone through four years of university in two hours. The amount of information was mind boggling. The chemotherapy schedule, the meds, the doctors.... I didn't know how I was ever going to keep track of half of it.
Thankfully, Childcan was there right from the beginning. They had such a calming and refreshing presence that somehow had me feeling that we would be able to get through this. And there was so much support available!
Childcan helped us stay afloat financially. As I was spending four or five days a week in the hospital with Lexi, my husband had to cut back to part-time hours to be available as much as possible for our other daughters. There was a lot of need for financial assistance.
Childcan provided us with a parking pass, both in London and in Toronto when we had to go to SickKids. Parking alone is a HUGE expense. We spent two weeks in SickKids Hospital in Toronto for Lexi’s tumour removal and Endo-prosthetic leg reconstruction, a-13 hour surgery.
Childcan gave us daily meal vouchers and they covered the cost of all Lexi’s assistive devices.... air cast, crutches, knee brace, walker. They also covered the cost of accommodations while we were in hospital and Ronald McDonald House wasn’t available. Beyond financial support, they’ve hosted Childcan family trips and events that we’ve participated in and even made Christmas more wonderful and joyous, not just for Lexi but for her sisters and the whole family too.
Childcan’s family support worker is like family to us now. She really cared and it showed! I'm not sure how we could have or would have gotten through the past nine months without the support of Childcan!! We are very very thankful and blessed.
In May, Lexi finished her chemo treatments, and she has been doing well! She still has a long road to full recovery with physio, another day surgery, and follow up appointments every three months for the next two years, then every six months for the next five years, and annually for the rest of her life. She will also be having what is essentially a knee replacement surgery every 15 years or so.
Childcan, which helps children and their families dealing with childhood cancer, is an amazing organization. It is not government funded so if you can donate.... this is a great place to do it!
Thank you Childcan!! We have been blessed to have you in our lives!
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