Three days after his 10th birthday, Joel was diagnosed with medulablastoma, a type of brain cancer. It was the darkest day of our lives and the first time Joel ever his father cry. The mass was the size of a kiwi fruit, but the good news was that it was a solid tumour and it was operable.
“Stacey”, she said, “You need to head back to the Alberta Children’s Hospital right away and I think it would be best if you packed a bag as you could potentially be staying overnight. Colby’s blood counts are extremely low. I’m going to send them these results right now and they know you will coming there soon.”
Julia was our little sister. We were six and four years old, so we were quite a bit older than her. We also have an older sister, so we are all fairly spread out. She was the baby of the family. She was a little bit stubborn, a little bit bossy (actually, a lot bossy). But she was awesome. She was always open to anything – if we went to play hockey, she’d come too. She was just like that.
Taylor was diagnosed with leukemia the year she was supposed to start grade one. She spent two and a half grueling years on treatment. Her story is one of many shared on special dedication boards at registration for Tour for Kids Alberta, a three-day cycling adventure through the Canadian Rockies, where participants fundraise to ride, with all proceeds to Kids Cancer Care.
Our cancer journey began like many families whose children are diagnosed with leukemia – with symptoms and signs that we initially discounted as common, normal ailments of childhood. There were no red flags, no reason for cancer to even be a blip on our mind. But looking back now, we can pinpoint the start of Foster’s cancer journey.
Like all great western tales, it began with a wager at a local watering hole. A leather-clad biker anmed Dirtdog bet a good ol’ cowboy that he could raise more money by bartending. The cowboy took the bet and the challenge was on. That first weekend the cowboy and his friends tended bar and the weekend after, the biker and his crew.