On September 30th 2014 , I gave birth to my 3rd child Emma. I literally felt that my heart was going to explode with love after meeting this dark haired doll. Emma was a quiet child who was always glued to our legs or preferred the adult table to the kids table. Emma's smile would light up a room and her trade mark bangs made everyone smile.
In April of 2019 our day started as a normal day, the older 2 children went to school but Emma was complaining of leg pain that was causing her to have trouble walking, our pediatrician retired so I asked my husband to bring her to the children's hospital so they could do an X-ray.
Hours later, my husband called to tell me that they would start a round of blood tests. Right away, I started feeling anxiety and being almost 20 weeks pregnant with Baby # 4 I had this sick feeling something wasn’t right.
At 5:30 pm I answered the phone and my husband could barely say a word on the line, I was greeted by a doctor who began to tell me news that no parent should ever have to hear – I'm sorry but we suspect Emma has cancer. I immediately joined them at the hospital and our fight began. In the upcoming days we learnt that Emma has Standard Risk B-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (B cell ALL).
As much as we didn’t want to be on this journey we couldn’t have been better supported by the doctors, staff and the whole Hematology Oncology Department at the Montreal Children's Hospital.
By the time Emma’s treatments were well into progression, I was 36 weeks pregnant and Emma was throwing up all night. So we set up a tent with blankets in the bathroom and slept on the floor so she could sleep next to the toilet, I did anything to make her feel comforted.
Throughout her treatment of 780 days Emma was a ray of sunshine, she would be cheering her siblings at their soccer games, always ready to beat someone at UNO, play restaurant or cuddle up and watch Hockey with her papa. During the most intense phase of her treatment Emma became a big sister- even on her sickest days she always had the energy to cuddle and snuggle her baby sister and play barbies with her older sister. She would take advantage of her big brother and make sure he carried her around.
There were moments where we were shocked at her strength and determination- never questioning us why but always wanting to be the best she could be. Emma inspired many people including myself that every day is a new day and to always make the best of the day.
Cancer is real and children do suffer but Emma handled it like a pure Champion, smiling, laughing and joking around, cancer did not define her.
On June 18th 2021, Emma took her last dose of chemotherapy surrounded by all of our family and friends outside our home wearing a t-shirt saying " I kicked Cancer's A$$".
In September Emma started School for the first time, we were all worried since she missed so much, but teachers and staff all tell me how excited Emma is to be at school, she is always happy and always giving her 125%.
Emma also received awards for most improved, with an 85% average in subjects. Emma also joined Karate and can’t wait for the Summer for soccer season to start. The world better be ready because Emma has lots of catching up to do!
The sharing of my story is to spread awareness on pediatric blood cancers. My Emma could have been another statistic. Without the advancement in research that the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada has been able to provide I am not sure how our family would be. The support and resources that the LLSC offers its patients and survivors plays a huge role in their lives.
We are beyond proud and honored that Emma has been chosen as Girl of the Year and to be an inspiration. Thank you to the candidates and everyone involved in this campaign for your time- dedication and assistance in blood cancer research and awareness. From the bottom of our 6 hearts, we say THANK YOU.