Kellen's Story

"Hi, my name is Kellen Surette and I just turned 7 years old. I celebrated it with an amazing birthday party at the soccer dome at Cape Breton University with all my friends and family. Almost everyone I invited came except a few friends who had a cold; my mother said that I couldn't be around any friends who were sick because my blood is sick. I can't wait to spend my birthday money at Toys R US in Halifax and also in Toronto. I had to say goodbye to my teacher and my classmates last week because I am going on a big trip, but next year we will all be together again and, Mommy and Daddy said, next year playing hockey won't make me so tired."

 

 

     My name is Annette MacGillivray. I am the first cousin of Kellen's mother, Andrea. Actually, Andrea is more like a niece to me. Since I live in Montreal, I needed to find a way to help from a distance. The Paypal account that you will see on the fundraiser page belongs to my husband, Dr. Martin Goldstein. Together we hope to be able to make a difference in helping Kellen's family get through the very difficult ordeal they face in the months ahead.



     I invite you to walk a path with me in the life of a loving seven year old boy named Kellen Surette...........


Kellen is the first-born son of Andrea Martin Surette and Sheldon Surette and they live in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia with Kellen's eight month old brother Jonah. Andrea has worked very hard to establish her own home business as an esthetician. Sheldon has recently received his Education degree and presently works as a substitute teacher. In addition, to help make ends meet, Sheldon works at a golf club during the summer months. They, like all parents, love their children and try each and every day to parent with love and respect and protect their children from the dangers in their world. Never did they imagine that the danger would be as big as the danger they now face.


     It has been 2 weeks since Sheldon and his family are living with devastating news about Kellen's health. Kellen has been diagnosed with AML, (Acute Myelogenous Leukemia); the life that this family once knew has been turned upside down and will never be the same. This blonde haired, blue eyed seven year old boy is facing the biggest challenge of his short life. He is presently on his second trip to a Halifax hospital (IWK) and will soon be leaving for more specialized treatment at Toronto Sick Kids Hospital. In the short time since the AML diagnosis, he has had multiple blood transfusions, bone marrow testing and platelet transfusions. 


     For an adult this would be a lot to handle. Kellen handled all this with incredible strength.  He is willing to do whatever needs to be done to get him back in his skates and on the ice with his buddies. His parents can still hear him saying, "I can't go to hockey today, hockey just wears me out". This was the comment that signaled his family that something was very wrong and that he needed medical attention. The rest is a very bad dream that has confronted Kellen and his whole family.


     Parents Andrea and Sheldon are ready to do whatever it takes to bring their beloved Kellen back to good health, to bring him home and find again the simple joys of watching him play with his Thomas Trains, Lego Star Wars, play hockey, laugh and just be the carefree little kid he was - the things that parents take for granted. 


     When Kellen learned that he was having a little brother he was over the moon with happiness. His unselfish nature eased him into getting ready for a new baby. He even announced that he would be the best big brother ever (and he is). Little brother Jonah, at only 8 months old, will also have quite a journey in ahead of him as he assumes the role of entertainment director for Kellen on those "blue" days to come during Kellen's treatment and recovery. The bond these two boys have developed in such a short time is remarkable - both boys need each other.


     In the privacy of their own thoughts, as Andrea and Sheldon lay beside their sons, they are very aware that their family needs a miracle. They need to keep up their hope that the Oncology team at Toronto Sick Kids Hospital will be able to be successful in treating their precious son. They need to pray for a match for the bone marrow transplant Kellen needs will be found in time. It will be a combination of prayers, medical expertise, family support and their belief that God will stay by their side until Kellen can get well and come home. They cannot lose hope "“ it's not an option.


     There are grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends who cannot imagine their lives without this sweetheart of a child. With the medical advances over the past decade, there is optimism and hope that this monster of a disease can and will be beaten.


     The near future for Kellen's family is in turmoil "“ the physical, emotional and financial strains they face are formidable. Andrea will need to close her business and Sheldon will now not be able to work. The immediate family needs to move to Toronto for the time of waiting for a donor match followed by the prolonged treatments and recovery phase. They will be separated from their extended family for an indefinite period of time. Jonah, at eight months old, will probably not be able to visit Kellen at the hospital. The grandparents who are a very large part of Kellen's life will want to come to Toronto for visits. Kellen will be devastated to be separated from his grandparents. Andrea has never lived away from the area where she grew up. If anyone could pick a time to be away from her extended family supports, it definitely would not be under these circumstances. Andrea and Sheldon have a tough road ahead - parenting their two children under the worst circumstances that one can imagine. Most of us cannot even imagine this and won't allow our thoughts to go there. Andrea and Sheldon don't have that choice.


     My hope and dream is that everyone who reads this will want to contribute something.  Every little bit will help them. You may come back to this site at any time to offer a gift of love to Kellen's family.


       The only way that Andrea and Sheldon can keep their focus on caring for their children and have peace of mind is with help. I think it would be difficult to imagine any family having to worry about a car payment or a mortgage payment while their child is having a bone marrow transplant for leukemia. This is a cruel situation. The reality is that it can happen to anyone. Anyone of us, no matter what our financial situation, would not be able stay afloat if both household incomes were abruptly taken for a period of six months up to a year. This is the reality the Surette household faces at the present time. I will move heaven and earth to raise as much money as I can to ensure that Kellen has a home to come back to.


     Hopefully we can all thank God that our families are healthy and share our love with Kellen's family. Please send this to anyone that you know would like to have the opportunity to make a difference in someone's life. Andrea and Sheldon are numbed by recent events. They are understandably overwhelmed with having so much to deal with. My sincere hope is that friends, relatives and perhaps even some strangers will be motivated step up and lend support. 


     The site is a registered website where you can feel comfortable to donate here. The money will be sent to a Pay Pal account for transfer to Kellen's family. The money can be dispersed on a daily basis to the family. Through PayPal, you can pay by credit card or debit. If you prefer to send a cheque, it will go directly to Kellen's family at an address soon to be determined.

 

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Organizer

Annette Mac Gillivray 
Organizer
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