More than 10,000 Canadian children diagnosed with paediatric cancer this decade
Celina Lucas was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer when she was just 10 months old.
“I remember it like it was yesterday even though it was almost two years ago. The doctor sat us down and said, 'Listen she has a large mass in her head,' and he drew on the sheets what it was and it was just the most devastating thing to hear,” says the little girl's father George Lucas.
The family didn’t even have time to process the news because the next day Celina went in for emergency brain surgery.
“The first brain surgery went horribly wrong and she arrested twice on the table," he says. She’s so strong she came back from that but they actually had to abort the surgery to save her life.”
Since then Celina has undergone numerous surgeries and chemo therapy and is now cancer free.
“Now we have to deal with rehab, physio and visual because she’s now blind from the surgery. (There's) speech and langauage and she doesn’t eat so all her food goes into her belly from a g-tube and she basically has to learn everything all over again,” Lucas says.
The executive director of Childcan, Kathleen Barnard, says Childcan helps hundreds of families across Ontario navigate through their cancer journey.
“We provide financial support. We provide a hospital parking pass and food vouchers when the kids are inpatients we provide support to offset some of the travel and accommodation costs and with medical costs as well and even just household bills.”
Childcan raises approximately $600,000 a year to be able to assist all the families.
Lucas says that’s why Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is important for fundraising dollars.
“Because there is already such an emotional burden, there is a financial burden on you as well. And they come in do what they can off the bat to say, 'Don’t worry about that, just worry about your little girl,'” Lucas says.