I am Fiona. I am a mother, wife, business owner, friend to many & most of all I treasure life & the precious moments it has to offer. I have also had to deal with loss & cancer more than once.
At first, I lost both my parents to cancer . They died within a few years of each other. During my mother’s lengthy illness, she volunteered relentlessly & advocated for those that needed assistance even when she was in hospital herself. She was awarded the Cancer Society Medal of Courage just prior to her death. I admired her but I also initially questioned what drove her to worked so hard to serve others even when she was so ill. Then I understood….
In 2013, I had to hear those awful words….”your child has cancer”. My youngest son Simon was diagnosed with Acute Lymphobasic Leukemia in February of 2013. He was 15 at the time.
During Simons treatment, I met many other children (& their families) that also went through a vast array of cancer related experiences- I never realized how many aspects there would be to deal with. I learned from the experiences we had to deal with and from the people we met. I saw firsthand how individuals (including both medical & patients) pulled all their resources with the aim to treat to cure. I met caring Medical teams, Research teams, Social Worker teams, & of course family teams-don’t forget those. I was lucky-we were a good family team. Not all children have family teams.
I saw children undergo amazing surgeries & some who endured very lengthy treatments. There were psychological aspects, financial aspects to consider, research experiences, & a variety of treatment aspects, repercussions & logistical needs, even social needs to consider- all of which were life changing from the moment we heard those words.
Simon underwent 11 months of treatment. His bravery beads are over 16’ long in that short time. You can imagine how many cancer treatments & procedures it would take to make up that many beads… As it turned out, Simon also had an extremely rare genetic component associated with the leukemic cells (Hypodiploidy). It is also a lesser known genetic component of the disease & it is harder to cure. More research is needed in this area. Simon passed away Jan 10, 2014. He was 16 yrs old. He grew tenfold during his last year with us & he taught me more about unconditional love & compassion than I ever knew possible. There is still a huge need that exists to help those children still enduring treatment & also to those along the often lengthy road to recovery. I am excited to be a National Rider cycling coast to coast for the 2017 Sears National Kids Cancer Ride as I know the funds we can raise will really help make a difference.