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A family of incredible strength

On December 23, 2014, 5-year-old Charlie is hospitalized with a high fever. That’s when her family receives her first diagnosis of leukemia. “Time stopped, nothing existed around us anymore. Every thing was falling apart. The lights from the holiday decorations were burning my eyes, I just wanted to set my Christmas tree on fire”, recounts Annie Dubeau, Charlie’s mom.

Charlie is immediately transferred to the intensive care unit. Everyone fears for her life. Her blood tests results don’t look good, she’s suffering from pneumonia, water is starting to fill her lungs and her blood pressure is too high. Doctors picture the worst and her family is devastated. The next day, her fever finally drops, her pneumonia improves and Charlie starts feeling better.

A few days later, after more specific tests were conducted to determine the type of leukemia affecting Charlie, doctors realise that she no longer has leukemia cells in her body. “Nobody understood, we went back home but had to go back to the hospital every week for tests”.

Five weeks later, Charlie’s family is finally going to be discharged, but results come back and show that Charlie in fact does have acute lymphoblastic leukemia. “We were in our hospital room, devastated and powerless. That’s when we met Annie, from Leucan. She told us : “You are not alone, we are here with you!”. That’s exactly what we needed at that moment”.

“Massages, emotional support, a playroom (arts and crafts, board games, etc.) are essential to forgetting, for a moment, the discomfort caused by injections and treatments. Back home after the hospitalization, we benefited from the various activities organized by Leucan, massages for all family members, art therapy and the monthly financial aid. Leucan is the support we need when our child is diagnosed with cancer. Our life is changed forever, but they are there to make it smoother”.

Today, Charlie is doing well. Her survival, the financial support granted to her family and all the activities that broke them out of their isolation have been possible thanks to the unwavering commitment of people across the province. Through funding activities, donations, volunteering or partnerships, thousands of Quebecers united to support Leucan and the hundreds of families coping with a childhood cancer diagnosis in Quebec. On the occasion of the Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Leucan wishes to thank every one of them again for their solidarity.

Annie’s story is unique, but the devastating impacts of cancer on children touches nearly one new family everyday in Quebec. To support families of cancer-stricken children with a donation or a monthly donation, click here.