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SIERRA HEWSON

Sierra Hewson

I was 15 years old and had just started 10th grade when I was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma. My symptoms started off slowly with some pain in my shoulder when I slept and night sweats off and on. Tests ordered by my family doctor showed nothing out of the ordinary so we assumed it may be a torn muscle. Many months later I began to notice a difference in the way I felt on a daily basis. I was tired and sore, didn't have much energy, bruised easily and was starting to be out of breath very quickly. This had never happened before. Blood work, done by my doctor, was normal and I was able to continue living life for a bit until suddenly one day I felt terribly ill, couldn't lie down without excruciating pain and couldn't breathe properly. Emergency doctors thought I had a bad case of pneumonia at first until they did a CT scan and discovered a large mass in my chest wall. I was rushed by ambulance to Sick Kids Hospital where I spent several weeks in ICU, before being officially diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma.

When chemotherapy wasn't shrinking the giant mass fast enough, I underwent a 10 hour surgery to remove the tumour along with several ribs and surrounding muscle and tissue. Chemo continued. I underwent 6 weeks of radiation therapy. It took over a year for me to fully recover from the surgery. Just after getting back into the swing of normal life again, I relapsed with Ewing sarcoma in both lungs. I underwent more chemo therapy and more surgery. I wasn't allowed any more radiation and things were not improving for me. My oncologist gave me a 10% chance of survival at this point. My parents and oncologist searched for any possible treatments to try next. We were willing to do anything. Miraculously, there was a clinical trial coming out that fit my needs exactly and I was lucky enough to be put on the trial. The drug showed great promise for me and was working better than anything had up to this point. The clinical trial ended, but I was allowed to remain on the drug until my oncologist thought it was safe to stop. Over 4 years my doctor was able to convince my parents and I that it was ok to stop the drug. I was cancer-free! Fast forward; 4 years later and I am now 27 years old, healthy, happy and truly blessed.

Sierra Hewson