Once again, the big heart of this community is helping a family as they work their way through a terrifying experience.
Kim and Andrew Scranton and their children are living in Vancouver’s Ronald MacDonald House as five-year-old Jane undergoes intense rounds of chemotherapy to rid her of acute B cell lymphoblastic leukemia.
Kim says the messages she receives on social media and in letters and cards are helping enormously and that she is awed by local fundraising efforts being made on the family’s behalf.
“It’s been amazing to just feel the community support; within week of being here, a truckload of stuff came down – gift cards, cards, literally a truckload,” says the owner of Live Well Physiotherapy. “Whenever we’re kind of struggling a bit, if we get not-so-good news, to talk to friends at home or even just to go on Facebook to read the messages kind of bolsters us.’
Kim says she is also awed by the generosity of businesses that have reached out to offer prizes for a raffle now underway.
“It’s just meant so much it’s unbelievable; people I hardly know are sending messages,” she says.
And every bit of support is needed now as Jane faces more down-and-dirty treatment, even though tests last week revealed there are no leukemia cells in her bone marrow.
But remission does not mean the treatments will stop anytime soon.
“They’re still keeping pretty hard with chemo to make sure it doesn’t come back,” Kim says, noting that although Jane is holding up pretty well, she is losing both hair and weight. “She’s considered high risk which means higher doses of chemo at least a month longer and a lot more drugs – a much more intense treatment with many more side effects.”
The cancer first reared its ugly head in swollen lymph nodes on the back of Jane’s head. Despite several tests, a diagnosis did not come until just before Christmas, after the nodes became infected.
“We were told to give her the best Christmas and then go to Vancouver where over 90 per cent of her bone marrow was leukemic. That was the worst hour of my life when the doctor was telling us that,” Kim says, noting Jane had an anaphylactic reaction to a backup drug she was given because there was a worldwide shortage of the one she needed. “That was terrifying, I didn’t know if we’d get it in time.”
While missing home, family, friends and routine, Kim says the treatment and support the family is receiving in Vancouver is awesome.
“The BC Children’s nurses and doctors are amazing; one nurse really tries to get her going,” Kim says. “Jane’s a quiet kid and one nurse can get her smiling, he wears a diaper over his uniform and calls himself Captain Underpants.”
When they first arrived at the hospital in January, nurses went out on a balcony to build Jane a snowman and Jane is always surprised the nurses all greet her by name.
Holly, the Scranton’s two-year-old daughter, is too young to know what is happening and Anna, nine, goes to the school room at Ronald MacDonald House where she does lessons based on material her Salmon Arm teacher has sent for her.
“It’s truly amazing here, I don’t know what we would have done without Ronald MacDonald House, ” she says. “I know where my dollars will go after this, cancer research and Ronald MacDonald House.”
Kim is hoping the family will be able to return home in August or early September and receive follow-up treatment in Kelowna, which will include oral chemo for two years.
Jane’s birthday is in mid-August and while coming home would be a fabulous gift, Kim says it will depend very much on how Jane copes with her treatments.
Daila Duford, Salmar Theatre manager and one of Kim’s best friends has been co-ordinating the initial fundraising effort to support the Scranton family, along with Bastion Elementary.
On April 29, Boss Baby will be shown at the Salmar Classic. Tickets are $5 and include popcorn and a drink and ticket.
Only 300 seats were available as of Wednesday so those who wish to see the movie are encouraged to go to firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve their spot.
Raffle tickets went home with all Bastion Elementary students and those that are not sold will be made available next Wednesday. Each ticket costs $5 and offers a chance to win two tickets to anywhere West Jet flies, an autographed Shea Weber jersey, a garden package and many more items.
“They’re selling like hotcakes, people have been so generous,” says Duford, noting if there are any tickets left, they will be available through the hotmail account, where people can also make email donations. “They’re extremely generous, an amazing giving family and the funniest people I know.”
Duford says work is already underway to create more fundraisers.