Jeneece Edroff got good news at the Mayo Clinic on Friday: No cancer.
Off at another U.S. hospital, Baby Molly’s family hopes for a similar result.
And, at B.C. Children’s Hospital, so do Baby Madrona’s parents.
Three Victoria kids, three sets of parents carrying the kind of weight no family should bear.
At least we have a chance to lighten the load for a couple of them. There are fundraisers today for the families of Molly and Madrona, both two years old, both having relapsed with leukemia.
Jeneece, who suffers from a condition called neurofibromatosis, had the best reason to smile Friday. Mayo Clinic doctors who operated on her leg last week — the 16th surgery she has endured since being diagnosed at age three — told her there is no sign of cancer, a possibility that had been troubling her.
“It was pretty awesome news,” the 19-year-old said on the phone from Rochester, Minnesota. Jeneece and her parents, Angie and Denis, will be back on Vancouver Island on Tuesday.
It will be much longer before the Campbell family returns home to Victoria. They’re in Memphis, Tennessee, where Molly received a second stem cell transplant a month ago after relapsing in November.
The toddler has been an outpatient, living in a cramped two-bedroom rented apartment with her four young siblings and their parents, Dave and Rebekah. She was readmitted to St. Jude’s Hospital on Thursday after coming down with a fever.
“We’re here at least another two to three months,” Dave said on Friday. If all goes well, the family will then relocate again, this time to Vancouver, with Molly due to be treated for several months in B.C. Children’s Hospital.
Molly’s medical costs are being covered by St. Jude’s, where those treating her are following an experimental protocol. The family still has to handle all its other expenses, though, which is tough with no earnings coming in. Dave, who lost his Victoria bank job, can’t even collect Employment Insurance, having become ineligible when he crossed into the U.S.
“It has been a challenge,” he acknowledged. “We try to focus on what we can focus on, which is Molly’s health and being together as a family.”
Friends of the Campbells, fellow parents from Oaklands Elementary School, have organized a silent auction from 2-5 p.m. today at Koffi, 1441 Haultain St. The Esquimalt High jazz band will play and there will be a barbecue, with auction items ranging from Rifflandia tickets to a stay at the Inn at Laurel Point.
Today also sees a fundraising run for the family of Madrona Fuentes, who relapsed shortly before her second birthday last month. The run, organized by friends of her mother, Michelle Purvis-Fuentes, was scheduled for 8 a.m. outside the Frontrunners store at Vancouver and View. People were being asked to walk or run a one-, five- or 12-kilometre route, with entry by donation.
Madrona’s parents won’t be at the run. Rafael has gone to Vancouver to join Michelle and Madrona, who were helicoptered to B.C. Children’s two weeks ago, just as they were when the baby was diagnosed with leukemia last June.
Michelle says she wishes she could join the runners. “I’ve got some rock-star friends out there,” she said, whispering over the phone, trying not to wake Madrona.
Most people, it seems, are eager to help. Given an avenue to do the right thing, they’ll follow it. Down in Minnesota, Denis Edroff discovered that on Thursday when he went to pay for lunch at the hotel restaurant. No, he was told, the guy who had been sitting at the next table had quietly picked up the Edroffs’ bill when he settled his own. It made the family’s day.
There is, unfortunately, no shortage of families to help. Sunday will see the first practice ride for the police officers trying out for this year’s Tour de Rock team; cops keep turning out for the cause — the fight against pediatric cancer — because children keep getting diagnosed with the disease. Between 70 and 90 Vancouver Island kids attend the Canadian Cancer Society’s Camp Goodtimes each summer. Many more are sick.
Most survive. Some do not. All could use the help of those around them.
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