Everlee is very active. As a young child, she loved to dance, skate, play t-ball, and more.
Then, at the age of four, her parents noticed she was clingy and was not her usual outgoing self. They also noticed her skin was turning an odd yellow-grey and her fingernail beds were blue.
They rushed her to the emergency department at McMaster Children’s Hospital to discover that she had acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a type of blood cancer.
Her mother describes it as the worst day of her life. She didn’t know if Everlee would live and felt a pain in her heart unlike anything she had ever experienced.
Almost immediately, Everlee began treatment with chemotherapy and oral medications which became a regular part of her routine for the next two and a half years. Her hair fell out within a month and she became very tired. But Everlee and her family realized the importance of Everlee sticking with the treatment plan. She was determined to fight for her life.
During the darkest times of her cancer journey, Everlee formed an amazing bond with her hospital care providers. Her mother calls them Everlee’s second family and talks about how kind they were, how they patiently listened and responded to their “thousands” of questions, and how they took the time to ask how they were feeling, mentally and emotionally. She also points to the Child Life Specialists who helped Everlee understand her cancer and how to thrive as she underwent treatment as an out-patient.
The last six months of Everlee’s treatment were the hardest, both physically and emotionally. She developed a bad intestinal infection, was admitted to the hospital several times and at one point, for a full month.
It was very hard but Everlee’s mom says, “It was worth it.”
Everlee’s treatment was an enormous success. The cancer was eliminated and seven years later, no trace can be found in her system. In addition, she doesn’t feel sick anymore and wakes up every day raring to go. She currently loves to play baseball, hike, and paddleboard, and is a member of a karate black belt club. Nothing is holding Everlee back.
With help from generous corporate partners through foundations such as the McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation, Canada’s children’s hospitals can enable kids like Everlee to flourish – thanks to state-of-the-art diagnostics, treatments, and their very caring and highly skilled staff.
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