Konichiwa, Dream Team!
I would like to tell you about my dream trip to Japan that you have organized for me. I will tell my story starting from the limousine that took us to the airport. I had indescribable feelings. It was the first time I rode in a limo and I was feeling like a celebrity too!
Heidi lives up in Gnadenthal, a 15-minute drive South-East of Winkler, with a family that knows how to love each other. Heidi, an 11-year-old, was born a twin, has a younger sister, as well another set of younger twin siblings.
To really know Heidi’s story, we have to look back to a few years ago.
Azariah was only three months old when her family learned that she had a rare form of kidney cancer called Wilm’s Tumour. It was rare enough for someone as young as Azariah to be diagnosed, but even rarer to have tumours on both kidneys.
Over the last three years, Azariah has been an absolute trooper, handling all of the tests and treatments along the way. It has been so incredibly tough on her parents and her siblings, and this whole family could benefit from some of the hope and joy that comes from a dream come true.
What started out as a few random fevers throughout the summer of 2018, turned into an emergency room visit and news that turned our whole world upside down. During the early hours of August 25, 2018, we found out that our little 6-year-old Karmyn had cancer.
A few days later, she was formally diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Two weeks after that, it was concluded that Karmyn had Philadelphia Positive ALL, which is very rare in pediatric Leukemia in that less than 5% of kids have it. Since then, Karmyn has turned 7 and her days have been mainly filled with trips to clinic at CancerCare, and admissions at Children's Hospital on CK5.
My name is Darrell Poirier. On November 14th, 2014 my wife Melissa and I, along with our son Liam were very excited to welcome our newest addition to our family, Colten. Or as we call him, Coco.
Colten came to us without any complications, but as Melissa was snuggling her beautiful new baby, she noticed a small scab on the back of his head. Little did we know, this would be the start of his battle with the ever so stubborn and rare Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH). At 4 weeks, another scab appeared on his neck. Then, by 8 weeks old, his torso was covered front to back.
On April 5th, 2017, our world came crashing down on us. Our 3-year old daughter Maia was diagnosed with Very High Risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She hadn’t been herself for a few months, but there were no indicators that it was something so serious. A few weeks before her diagnosis, things changed.
She developed a fever that wouldn’t go away, had many bruises on her legs, no appetite, and little energy. The day we brought her to the Children’s ER, she had little blood spots on the bridge of her nose. Hours later, we were given the news that would change the course of our family’s life, and begin Maia’s fight for her own.
Ryder was born in June of 2012. Like most parents, my husband Chris and I had no idea what the journey of parenthood was all about but we would soon find out that the unexpected could happen at any moment.
We didn’t learn what a warrior Ryder would become until 8 months later, when we were told something no parent ever expects: Ryder had Infant Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Ava was born just over a month early on February 8, 2011. The doctors had hoped her condition would correct itself and, once born, she would be okay. Within a week, Ava relapsed and was in need of her seventh blood transfusion. We were told at this time for her to sustain life, she would need continual blood transfusions but still they said, “We don’t know why.”
Our family became a permanent fixture in Pediatric Cancer Care Manitoba. The weekly visits for blood transfusions and tests were always emotionally and physically draining. Ava was so very small and her veins were no bigger than a hair. It was not unusual for her to receive 6-8 “needle pokes” to find a vein that would take and hold an intravenous needle.