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Resilience in Remission
Sarah was always active as a
swimmer, soccer player, track star and dancer. However, she started losing
muscle tone at age 11. If she leaned over while dancing, she had trouble
getting back up. Running became increasingly difficult. Then came low-grade
fevers and a cold that just wouldn’t go away.
In October 2013, Sarah began crying
because of intense pain
in her side and legs. Her parents took her to the Emergency Department at McMaster
Children’s Hospital. Within eight hours, Sarah was diagnosed with pre-B
acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It was a week after her 12th birthday.
a high-risk patient, she stayed in hospital for induction chemotherapy, which
aims to achieve remission in about one month. After this was successful, she
received more chemotherapy before returning home for Christmas.
returned to the hospital later that winter because she was vomiting and losing
a lot of weight, so she was placed on a feeding tube. She also formed blood
clots, which was a side effect of one of her medications, necessitating needles
twice a day in her abdomen for eight months.
someone who panics with needles or any medical trauma, Sarah could not have done
it without outside support,” says Sarah’s mother, Cathi. “I can’t say enough
about the child life specialists or the nurses who are so caring. Everyone is
included the nurses who made sure to have Sarah’s favourite food (macaroni and
cheese) at the ready, and the child life specialists who kept the craft supplies
well stocked because they knew how much she loves art.
On November 24, 2015, Sarah had her last dose of
chemotherapy and she remains in remission to this day. Sarah is back home in Stoney Creek and
is enjoying Grade 8. After such a challenging ordeal, her entire family
appreciates the vital role of donor support in enabling the pediatric oncology
department to provide outstanding health care.
will always be grateful for everyone at McMaster Children’s Hospital,” says
Cathi. “The doctors and nurses are absolutely wonderful. Without them, we might
not have our daughter today.”
was selected to represent McMaster Children’s Hospital as the 2016 Children’s
Miracle Network Champion presented by Walmart. The program unites patient
ambassadors from children’s hospitals across Canada for a series of fun
activities in Orlando, Florida.