Day 7 – Sept 12th – Glenboro, Saskatchewan to Winnipeg, Manitoba
I want to tell you about a chance encounter today, with some of our volunteers who were in Winnipeg (before we got there) doing our laundry while we were riding. They set out for lunch and decided on a nearby restaurant to the laundry mat. While they were in the restaurant, three ladies noticed the NKCR shirts they were wearing and asked them about it … the volunteers told the women about the National Kids Cancer Ride and how we’re raising funds for kids cancer research.
To the surprise of the volunteers, the woman shared with them that their children had recently been diagnosed with cancer. The volunteers told the Moms & one Grandmother that we would be going to Cancer Care Manitoba at the end of the day (when we rode in) to meet some of the staff and kids if they were still in treatment, and invited them to join us. Thankfully they did. I’ll come back to this in a moment.
Cancer care Manitoba is a remarkable facility. It’s like a home away from home for these children and their families. They are actively involved in clinical trials, have an amazing play center for kids of all ages, provide support and resources for the family, and care to these children.
When we initially arrived, the coordinator for our gathering introduced the two Moms I spoke about earlier. The first Mom and her Mother (Grandmother) talked to us about her 7 month old daughter who was very recently diagnosed with a rare type of ALL (she is now 1 yr old). The baby was bruising all the time, and doctors couldn’t explain why for a long time. A doctor finally asked the Grandmother if she would like blood work done, she said yes, and 45 minutes after the blood work was drawn, they were introduced to Dr Doyle. Baby Emma will be given the new CAR-T treatment that was just approved last month for phase 3 trials.
We had a chance to meet Alex who is 16 years old and has cancer survivor. He’s part of the teen support team, is involved with the Inside Ride fundraisers at Cancer Care Manitoba. He’s awesome … a confident, fun, caring young man. We met some of the nurses and staff who help these families every day. And we met Dr Doyle, a pediatric oncologist who also helps these kids and their families every day.
After all the introductions, we were able to walk through the clinic. Myself along with other riders, met the Moms. The second Mom is the Mom of Benny (5) and two other children. Benny was recently diagnosed with cancer as well … AML. She’s a single Mom with very little support around her. She met the first Mom by connecting online, and they are supporting each other on this journey they now share.
A very special moment happened when the second Mom said her son Benny had AML. One of our riders told her his daughter also had AML as a child. She commented how sorry she was, to which this rider replied “No, don’t be, my daughter is doing great now” ….. the absolute happy surprise on this Mom’s face was magical … this look of HOPE from connecting with someone who shared a similar journey.
The impact of spreading awareness of childhood cancer to raise funds for research and support programs, and the impact NKCR makes for these centers and for the families, really hit home today. A community coming together to help these families. And that includes the community within our own NKCR group and the experiences they’ve had and can share with these families. That sense of hope was ever-present and these Moms didn’t feel alone any more.
About a month ago, the new CAR-T treatment I talked about above was approved for phase 3 trials. Although this treatment isn’t available for trials at CCM, it is available at Sick Kids and St Justine in Canada. To see how a new treatment option can make such a difference for a family was beyond words.
it’s wonderful seeing how when awareness is spread, how it can touch the person sitting right next to you who needs it the most. We are making a difference. And every dollar counts. Thank you again for your support for this ride.
Love & hugs, Michelle xo