I would like to introduce you to Will, Allison, and their four-year-old son Liam. Will and Liam share a love of all things wheeled, while Allison fuels their adventures with her love of cookbooks (and cooking! :) ).
What started as a call to Will’s doctor about some worrying symptoms in December resulted, (via the scenic route through the Ottawa Heart Institute), in a diagnosis of Stage 4 lung cancer. At the time of diagnosis the Cancer had already spread to Will’s brain, lymph nodes and stomach. You can imagine that this was quite the shock for the family, given that Will is a young man who hasn’t smoked a day in his life.
This is going to be a long and arduous fight to try to safeguard some of Will’s quality of life so that the family can enjoy one another for as long as possible. On the unanimous advice of his medical team, Will is transitioning away from work which will result in a significant drop in household income, and because of his progressing symptoms and their accompanying limitations, Will’s ability to contribute in a significant way to parenting Liam and taking care of the house is severely compromised. Allison is taking on most of Will’s normal duties, and because this is all happening at the same time as a Pandemic with its related restrictions their support network is limited, and on top of that Allison has been hired (without applying!) for the all-consuming role of Cancer Spouse. Due to these additional demands, Allison is also not able to work right now, which is resulting in an even further drop in household income.
Within Canada there are no known cures for Will’s cancer, and as Will’s lung tumour tested negative for the most common mutations for which there are targeted therapies, the treatments available are not the easier types. What could have been learned from publicly funded diagnostics has been exhausted resulting in a limited option for therapies within Canada. While there are privately funded research options available (outside of Canada) that could potentially result in a positive path towards better treatment options, and even potential ‘cures’, these treatments come with a significant cost, as do other treatment paths also available outside of Canada.
Many of you have reached out to offer help and the family is so appreciative. This early showing of support was invaluable during the initial shocking weeks of this journey, and continues to be a ‘virtual hug’ when a physical one isn’t possible. In pre-pandemic times, their army of friends would have descended en masse with food, offers of help for childcare, a good old-fashioned shared in-person cry, and anything else that they needed. This fundraiser will hopefully allow the family to consider options to lessen the day-to-day burden so they can focus on this fight, and enable them to explore private health-care options to extend the time they have together.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Please keep this family in your thoughts.