Megan Senn and her mom have received the best of gifts for their upcoming February birthdays.
Megan, 16, was diagnosed with leukemia in August. Since then she has been in Vancouver, undergoing treatment at BC Children’s Hospital.
Megan’s birthday is Feb. 26 and her mom’s, Karen Quinton, Feb. 11.
Quinton explains that Megan’s leukemia is now in full remission.
“Her latest bone marrow biopsy confirms that even at a microscopic level, no cancer cells can be detected. Terrific news worth celebrating! Chemotherapy is working and Megan’s body is responding!” she writes in a letter provided by Megan’s aunt, Leslie Stewart.
“Megan’s doctor describes treating leukemia like shovelling while it is still snowing. As soon as you clear a path, snowflakes fall where you have just shovelled and you need to shovel again. So even though Megan is in remission, she must continue chemotherapy to ensure her leukemia stays in remission.”
Quinton expressed her gratitude for all the support.
“I am continually amazed and grateful for the support Megan and I receive from the Salmon Arm and Sicamous communities. It is because of your generosity that I am able to stay here with Megan and focus my energy on helping her heal. Your prayers, emails, dinners, chauffeuring, letters, visits, care packages and fundraising are all greatly appreciated.”
Megan will receive intensive chemotherapy treatment in Vancouver until spring. Once they are able to come home, they will need to make frequent trips back to the hospital until January 2018.
Megan has three siblings: Connor who’s 15 and who just arrived in Vancouver to stay with his mom and Megan; Heather, 19 and Courtney, 18. Quinton is a Grade 1 teacher at Parkview Elementary in Sicamous but has also taught at other district schools.
Megan has Down syndrome, so Stewart notes it’s been crucial to have her mom by her side to help her understand what’s been happening.
Stewart, other family members and friends have been fundraising to help cover the many expenses that Quinton, a single mom, is facing.
Stewart explains that Megan is now staying in Ronald McDonald House with her mom, so she is considered an out-patient, and some of her medical supplies aren’t covered. Living in Vancouver is expensive, with costs for fuel, food, nutritional supplements and hospital parking adding up quickly. The BC Family Residence Program and Variety Club paid for the first three months of their stay at Ronald McDonald House BC but that coverage has run out.
To help, two fundraising events in the Shuswap are planned to help the family, appropriately promoted as “Double the love in two towns.”
A chocolate bake sale will take place at the Mall at Piccadilly on Saturday, Feb. 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Then, in Sicamous, a beef on a bun fundraiser will take place at the Askew’s grocery store on the same day, Feb. 13, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
In addition to the fundraisers, funds can be donated via a GoFundMe account under Megan Senn Recovery Fund at http://www.gofundme.com/6q3mrt38.
Donations can also be made at any branch of Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union, by asking for the ‘In trust for Megan Senn, account 1626480.’
Quinton says she and Megan have experienced much kindness at the hospital from caring health-care professionals, to volunteers who make dinners, to professional athletes who drop by for a visit. Through all the treatments, Quinton says Megan’s spirit shines through.
“Although necessary, the chemotherapy Megan receives has numerous negative side effects. Nausea, hair loss, dizziness and extreme fatigue occur frequently. Megan has also experienced some rare, severe side effects including diabetes, blood clots, seizures and strokes. She has primarily been using a wheelchair since October but uses a walker when she feels good. Megan is working with a physiotherapist to regain her mobility. She has required more than a dozen blood transfusions as her bone marrow recovers from the cancer and the chemotherapy,” she explains.
“Through it all, Megan’s famous smile continues to shine. She brings joy, love and laughter to everyone around her and is a favourite patient of many nurses, doctors, housekeeping staff and volunteers. She is my hero.”