On January 20th, 2018, Nicole and Nate took Autumn for some routine blood work requested by their family doctor. This just being a normal Saturday morning, Autumn requested a visit to Grandma's as her treat for doing so well at the lab. Autumn and Michael were having a sleepover with Grandma and Grandpa (Roger and Barb Auger) so Nicole and Nathan went back home to Hamilton for a quiet night, and to get some running around done without their kids.
Later that evening around 9:30 pm, Nicole and Nate came home to a voicemail from Life Labs, asking for them to return their call immediately. When calling back they learned that Autumn's blood work was showing 'critical levels.' The doctor at the lab had instructed for them to get Autumn to the hospital immediately, and to tell the emergency department upon arrival that Autumn's hemoglobin was at 52. Immediately after hanging up, Nicole and Nate called and said they were on their way to pick up the kids and that they were heading to McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton. On the drive to Dunnville to pick up the kids, Nate had to call his parents, (Terry and Elvira Brown), to prepare for the care for Michael while they were with Autumn at the hospital.
After many hours in the ER, and a multitude of tests, blood work and a million questions, Autumn was finally admitted; with fear and exhaustion running through them. The fear of every parent was about to become their reality as around 6am on January 21 2018 their baby girl was diagnosed with Leukemia. This was followed with yet another IV line put in; which took six adults holding this sweet little girl down. The Doctors then shared the fact that Autumn's spleen and liver were very enlarged, her counts were dropping by the second and they immediately started the first of many blood transfusions. All this while their son Michael, who was tired and hungry, stood by and watched. From there they were moved to the Oncology department 3B2 ward, which then became their home for the next 10 days.
During this time Autumn, received many transfusions of blood and platelets, more tests, continuous blood draws, surgery to insert a central line, spinal tap and bone marrow test, and the start of the aggressive treatment of chemotherapy to attack the leukemia. With many doctors meetings, Nicole and Nate had to learn the expectations and the needs of Autumn's care, learning the protocol and course of action through treatment; the main objective was to help Autumn understand what was happening to her and that it isn't her fault and she shouldn't be scared even though it is very scary.
Autumn's journey with Leukemia is a 3+ year course of treatment. This treatment is full of intense protocols of steroids; chemotherapy; hospital stays as well as a multitude of side effects and tests. Autumn is unable to return to school for the remainder of the school year with her immune system being compromised. This has also taken a very significant toll on her little brother, Michael thinking he lost his mommy, daddy and his Autumn. He was unable to visit during the their hospital stay because he had a cold, so Oma (Elvira), and Nate's sister Naomi stayed with him while Nicole and Nate stayed with Autumn; so now he suffers from abandonment issues, because they were never not together until now. Michael, only being 4, doesn't completely understand what is going on and all of the changes that have had to happen.
With all of this happening, Nathan has had to take time off of work for the care of both Autumn and Michael. He has also had to take a leave during the course of the next six months when Autumn's treatment schedule is so intense. This leave has reduced his income by at least half during the leave. As you can imagine this will make just paying their regular bills extremely difficult never mind the additional costs associated with Autumn's care.
With the need to be at home/hospital, Nate taking this leave means their whole income has been drastically reduced and the costs of Autumn's care and the unexpected additional cost and expenses just keep increasing. As you can imagine the regular day to day bills and added tasks, as we all know adds up. So with the added expenses concerning Autumn's medications, dietary needs, (what Autumn likes to eat changes drastically due to her medications) hospital stays, the parking and additional gas costs traveling to and from the hospital for treatment and other appointments have put another strain on their finances as well.
Instead of focusing on the needs of Autumn, Michael and themselves, they now carry the fear of keeping their home and vehicle also.
My sister and her family have endured so much already and this is just the beginning and it seems like life's obstacles just keep stacking up against them.
Both sides of the family and friends are supporting in any way we can, but there is only so much we can all do. I write this in hopes to help raise money to relieve some of their financial burdens that they face in the upcoming months and years during the fight of their daughter's life. My little peanut, Autumn has gone through so much already, and they're all emotionally and physically drained now living a life full of pokes, tests, and so much more. I hope that if we can reduce their financial stress that they will be able to have the time to concentrate on Autumn's care and recovery as it should be.
Any help will be greatly appreciated and we would all like to thank you in advance especially my little PEANUT Autumn. She is a very loving and caring girl herself and she wants to help keep everyone smiling during this all. Please help by donating to this worthy cause, and make a family’s life a bit easier.
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