Karlee was first diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma in late November of 2013. Like most Ewings parents, our oncology team told us there wasn't very much information about Ewings on the Internet. Trusting in the oncology team, we started Karlee's first treatments on her brother's 10th birthday. Rounds and rounds of chemo and radiation turned Karlee into an unbelievably brave warrior. After completing the protocol, her medical team felt a stem cell transplant was the next best option. With every finger and toe crossed and every cry for help to God, she flew through the transplant with flying colours. Now with her cancer in remission, our hero took everyday with sunshine to build her life back to where she was before this dreaded disease. Graduating Grade 9 was a huge step for Karlee, with her mom and dad right along with her! No words can really explain how proud we were of our little girl and the mountains she climbed to get there.
But in late June of 2016, following routine PET scans, we were again given the worst news - the Ewings had returned to more than 80% of her body. This, after a clear PET scan only one month earlier was impossible to believe. We were devastated and her lack of options was crushing. Karlee was only 14 and basically given a sentence to die from cancer. We were again devastated and felt the conventional system had failed us. Her mom and I spent countless hours researching any possible means to save our baby. We tried almost everything that was within our reach. Her doctors sadly had only one option; chemo with just a few months to live.
There were no words to explain our feelings, let alone the feelings of our baby girl. When the tumours grew on her spine and paralyzed her from the breast down, nothing stopped her from trying to be a young lady. The harder we fought, the harder the bone cancer fought too. As a father, I felt there was no way I would let this cancer beat my little girl. Researching and fundraising became second nature. But unfortunately, no one or nothing could take away our baby's pain.
A week before Christmas 2016, our baby took her last breath in hospital with her best friend beside her. Not a day goes by that we don't think about Karlee and the ultimate sacrifice this cancer has set down upon our family. It has flipped our lives upside down.
Travis, Karlee's Dad.