Friends of Karlee

The Lewis family is a Kids Cancer Care family that we hold very near and dear to our hearts. Ron Lewis and his son Ryley have been hard at work organizing a Shave Your Lid for a Kid event to take place on May 25th at Sommerset School. The event is called Friends of Karlee, in honour of Ron’s Daughter Karlee’s cancer journey. The shave was organized in appreciation for Kids Cancer Care for supporting the Lewis family during Karlee’s fight and beyond. This is a story of family, community, love and courage. This is their story…
Getting a diagnosis of cancer is devastating anytime, but it is even more difficult when it is your 3 year old daughter.  That is what happened to our family on Friday August 6th, 2010 when our daughter Karlee was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. A lot of emotions, thoughts and fears run through you in a very short time and then reality sets in and you realize that you need to look at it as a journey with ups and downs and an end point. We chose to look at this journey with faith and hope and to make the best of an awful situation. The Kids Cancer Care Foundation makes it easier for patients, siblings and entire families to have a positive outlook and have support.Kids Cancer Care first came into our lives in 2010. Karlee was in surgery to have her port inserted and Ryley was in the family room on Unit 1, when he was asked if he would like to go to camp next week. We were absolutely shocked that an organization would offer to help Ryley. He went to camp and had a fabulous time. He got to meet some great friends, volunteers and staff and saw that this awful disease didn’t have to bring people down.

In the fall, we got a chance to go to camp as a family. Karlee’s blood counts were very, very low but the doctors agreed to let her go. We went to camp with the attitude that we were going to have some fun as a family, but we under estimated the power of camp.The relationships you make at camp teach you so much about healing, support and strength. When we got back from camp Karlee’s counts had risen to their highest level since she was diagnosed. At camp, there are warriors, survivors and their families as well as a families of angles. Each of these people can teach you so much about the human spirit and the ability to overcome.

Kids Cancer Care has allowed our family to take part in many events that we wouldn’t have been able to while dealing with cancer.They have also connected us with other families who have provided another level of support in helping us get through everything and in showing us that there is life after cancer. We have tried to give back to this organization by volunteering for events when we are able, donating money from slipper sales and now organizing a Shave Your Lid for a Kid event.

img_1722Right before Survivor Day last year we decided we wanted to give something back. As someone who has shaved my head for 15 years, I realized I needed to do something a little different to raise money by shaving, so I decided to grow my hair for a year! Ryley also agreed to shave his head and has been growing his hair since October. We started talking it up over the summer and started signing people up in January. We already have 20 people who are shaving their heads. Somerset School, which both kids attend, is partnering with us and going to help make this a great event. So far we have raised over $16,000 and we still have two months to go.

Our journey has had its challenges with numerous hospital visits (some planned and some not so planned), lots of chemo and other medications and a few scary moments, including Karlee coding in the clinic and the code team having to revive her. It has also had lots of special moments like camp, sporting events and family time. Many of the special moments have been made possible by Kids Cancer Care and they have been made extra special by their incredible staff and volunteers. There is no way to say thank you enough times to Kids Cancer Care for the incredible work they for families that need the support they offer.

-Ron Lewis

If you are interested in joining this shave and shaving your head to show support and raise funds for childhood cancer, please email Leah.