My name is Kim O'Neill. I am the owner of the O'Neill Academy of Dance in London, Ontario. My beautiful student, 11 year old Lacey Costa, is battling the fight of her life with Stage 4 Melanoma Cancer.
Lacey is the most loving, beautiful, and vibrant young girl. For those of you who know her well, you know just how witty and sarcastic she can be, never failing to bring you to tears of laughter with her quick comebacks! Her happy place is at the dance studio with her friends, and of course, at dance competitions performing with her dance team. She is always the first dancer to arrive at class, and the last dancer to leave the studio. She has a heart of gold and is loved by all of us at the dance studio. Sadly, this was taken away from her this past December, when her battle with cancer began.
In December of 2021, Lacey lost part of her left hand to try to stop the disease. Over the next few months, the pain got worse. It was then confirmed that the cancer had spread to her bones, spine, lungs, back of her head and other places in her body. She even had bones that were fractured because of the cancer. They got her on Immunotherapy since Chemo doesn’t work for Melanoma. The Immunotherapy drugs were given in combination over a 4 cycle treatment schedule, spaced out every few weeks. These Immunotherapy medications did not provide the response hoped for. Her tumours grew and the Melanoma spread even further.
Kristy and Dave (Lacey's parents), spoke with the Oncologist during her immunotherapy treatments months ago, about prepping for pivot situations if the Immunotherapy wasn’t working. It was shared that paperwork was being submitted by the hospital to prepare for those options to go through the approval process with the drug companies to find out what would be approved to be funded as it takes time to line that up. They just found out that none of that happened when they were asked by the medical team to reach out to their benefit company to see where they are in the approval process.
Kristy does not have benefits anymore as she had to go on leave from her job to care for Lacey 24 hours. Dave, reached out to his benefits company and was told that due to the costs of the necessary medication (Pembrolizumab which is $10,474.08 per treatment, paired with a second medication, which will total $20,000 every 3 weeks for a year!) they needed to see if they were contractually required to cover it and it would take 3-4 weeks to find out the response. Lacey doesn’t have 3-4 weeks to wait to start any option….she would need to be starting this NOW. And that is only one of the medications they are looking to put her on. There is also a clinical trial in Boston for one of the drugs, but it looks like her age group is closed and she is 6 months shy of the next one, age 12 and up. Again, she doesn’t have time. They keep hitting many closed doors and it is devastating.
This family has been through the wringer. They have faced every battle imaginable with not only Cancer but with the medical system. Simply put, without financial support, they cannot provide their daughter with the potential lifesaving treatment she requires, and in the time she requires it. No family should have to experience this.
All funds will go directly to the Costa family to ensure that their beautiful daughter will have access to the treatment she needs. They are up against the clock; there is no time left. If you are able in any way to donate to this incredibly special family, it will be appreciated beyond words.
Our medical system has failed Lacey. We are now reaching out to her "tribe" and anyone who is moved to help by donating any amount they can.
Lacey should be promised a CHANCE, and money should not be the obstacle.
Sending love and many thanks,