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OPACC Holiday Sponsors

 

Below is a listing of registered OPACC Ontario childhood cancer families that need a little extra help this year with Holiday gifts! You can read each listing and if you would like to sponsor a gift for a family, please click on their Amazon Wishlist link to select a gift and have it shipped to them. The families are listed by location if you would like to support a local family in your community.  Check back often as we will keep adding more families.

Please note that families are free to list whatever they want on their wishlists, and OPACC does not dictate what they can and can't include. Wishlist items can range from $1 to $1,000+. Families are aware that nobody is obliged to buy them anything and there are no guarantees that they will receive any gifts. OPACC does not receive any funds from this initiative, and all gifts are sent directly to the families and not to the charity.

 

If you would like to contact a family for more information about their request, please contact us at info@opacc.org with your question so we can forward it to them!

Here are some facts about how a family's finances are affected by a childhood cancer diagnosis:

  • About one-quarter of families of children being treated for cancer lost more than 40 percent of their total household income, while one-third experienced housing, energy or food insecurity within 6 months of diagnosis (source: Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center)

  • Families of children with cancer incur an average of more than $28,000 in costs in the first three months following a child's diagnosis (source: Canadian Cancer Action Network)

  • Over 80% of families' total cost of illness was associated with family members (especially mothers) forgoing their employment and other unpaid activities to provide care; over 50% of mothers reported relinquishing their employment (source: Tsimicalis et al.)

  • Caregivers typically lose 23% of their workable hours; parents with children who have cancer face higher loss of income and out-of-pocket costs – in part because parents must accompany the child to hospital or appointments (source: Canadian Cancer Action Network)

 

Thank you!

 

 

Ajax: The Zaharias Family

Our daughter Jaime was diagnosed with metastatic Ewing Sarcoma in 2020 at the beginning of COVID. She went through 14 rounds of chemo and 31 rounds of radiation only to find out a few months later that she had a new tumour on her skull. She had 5 rounds of radiation to her head and lost her hair for a second time. During a routine scan a few months later they found that her cancer was now in her lungs and again she had to start a new regimen of chemo. Her hair fell out for a third time and she is still on this chemo regimen indefinitely. Jaime has been through so much in the last 2 1/2 years but remains strong and is determined to beat this horrible disease.

Ajax: Miracles Can Happen!

Sadella has been a patient at Sick Kids Hospital since December 2013. Her very first Christmas was spent in the NICU. While trying to make the holiday season one of enjoyment, we spent our savings on a hotel room and decorations so that our 7 year old son could still experience the magic of the season (3 weeks in a hotel). We couldn't let him down and Santa made a special appearance at the Delta Chelsea that year. Sadella was cared for by a guardian angel in the form of a nurse that night. Christmas miracles abound, and Sadella's blood pressure finally stabilized that morning. For the past 9 years we have struggled with the burden of financial pressures since her Wilms bilateral tumor diagnosis. Christmas is about family and being together and we celebrate our health and well-being. However, a parent's guilt is endless and seeing 3 disappointed faces (8, 9, 16 years old) is devastating. My Christmas wish will always be health and happiness. If you could help out with the happiness part we will be sure to pay it forward when we are able to! Thank you for considering our family of 5.

Barrie: The Reaumes

Jacob is one year chemo free. His counts remain worrisome. He had a full mastectomy 2 weeks ago for preventive and personal reasons.

Bradford: The Moniz Family

My son has been dealing with Ewing’s Sarcoma since 2018. He is so strong and has gone through 3 relapses. Due to so many appointments and hospital visits I have been home and unable to work. My son is my inspiration his bravery and strength is unmatched.

Brampton: #teamDelosReyes

My daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia in Feb. 2021, then 2 weeks later, COVID hit almost everyone in the family. But God is gracious, and after 4 months of chemo, my daughter was in remission. She is currently in the maintenance phase. Treatment continues until June 2023 and my daughter will ring her bell by then.

Brampton: Carter’s Story

In May 2022, 4-year-old Carter was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).  The day after he returned home from a family vacation in Hawaii, Carter and his parents landed in the hospital and learned about his diagnosis. Carter is a sweet and funny little boy who loves to play outdoors with his friends. He was not able to complete his school year in junior kindergarten due to the many medical appointments required for his treatment, so he can’t wait to be back in the classroom with his teachers and friends. Carter will soon be completing the Delayed Intensification phase of treatment in November 2022.  He is very excited to be able to spend the holiday season at home with his family, particularly as his birthday is one of the most magical days of the year—Dec 25th!

 

More About Carter  - Things Carter Loves:   Playing with Legos & video games; Sonic the Hedgehog; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Cowabung dude!). When Carter grows up - he wants to be a police officer!  Throughout Carter's journey, his positive attitude has never wavered, proving what a strong and fierce little boy he is—his journey (and his family's journey) continues.

Brampton: Together We Make a Beautiful Family

We have been in the cancer treatment journey for our boy for the last 2 years. It's been tough times but all the best wishes from friends and family gave us strength to come back. We are waiting for the treatment completion day soon. Wish you good luck to all the families who have been going through tough times. Just believe in yourself, have faith in God and remember 'Every cloud has a silver lining'.

Caledon: Allyssa’s Story

My name is Allyssa and my cancer journey started when I was 15 years old in the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. I was in grade 9 and experiencing a cough that would not go away, a low grade fever and extreme fatigue. I was not well for 7 months. My Pediatrician, several walk in clinics doctors, and a hospital doctor all sent me home telling me I had a virus. My mother pushed my Pediatrician to perform more tests. After a chest X-ray I was rushed to SickKids as it showed I had a mass of 13 cm. pressing on my heart and aorta which could have caused cardiac arrest. My entire family was in shock and in fear! After doing a biopsy I was diagnosed with stage 2A Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and I would have to undergo 4 rounds of chemotherapy. I was admitted to SickKids for 8 days and received my first round of chemo in the hospital. I was very scared as I was afraid of losing my hair, my most prized possession. As a child who was on the #1 Rep soccer team in Ontario, being constantly active, and taking care of myself and my health, I was deeply shocked. It was very hard for me to battle cancer in the pandemic. I couldn't see anyone, or be with close proximity to anyone since chemo compromised my immune system. I couldn't even have my younger sister visit me in my hospital due to strict rules imposed by the hospital. Only one parent was allowed to accompany me during my treatment. After completing 4 rounds of chemotherapy treatment, it didn't kill all the cancer so I had to do 2 additional weeks of radiation at Princess Margaret. After completing my radiation treatment, I finally rang the bell on January 19, 2021 to signify the end of my cancer treatment!!! I was also officially cancer free!!! Yeah!! I couldn't be happier!!!! It was very hard and depressing battling cancer during the pandemic as I couldn’t be around family and friends to comfort me in this very tough time in my life. Today, I am currently 17 years old and 2 years post my cancer treatment. Even though I experienced complications from the chemo, I am blessed that I can share my story and help other teenagers like me. For most people, when they look back at 2020 they will remember the pandemic. For me however, 2020 signifies my battle with cancer. My name is Allyssa and this is MY journey.

Guelph: Tyler's Story

On July 27, 2022 we went to the emergency room because Tyler had a huge lump in his throat. After arriving and seeing the Doctor he was sent for what we thought to be routine tests. After going back-and-forth to the hospital for 2 or 3 days It was quickly determined that it was far more serious than we thought . Tyler had no symptoms at all. And he didn’t even notice the lump himself. After the 3 days of tests he was rushed to a larger children's hospital in the neighbouring city. When we arrived they did a ton of testing again in the hospital, and had a biopsy done in his throat 3 days later. Over the following weeks it was determined that the real cause of all Tyler's issues was actually cancer and he was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkins Lymphoma. He has since started treatment which consists of chemotherapy that is given in the neighbouring city and will continue for a minimum of several months to start and 11 sessions of radiation. Dad and mom being by his side for support is critical in his recovery as he has anxiety, an intellectual learning disability and an auditory processing disorder. Todd is really more than just Tyler's dad, they’re best friends and inseparable.

Cambridge: Joel's Story

Joel was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma after weeks of testing. He had 5 rounds of chemotherapy, which after every round there were complications and a hospital admission. He is recently in remission.

Kitchener: Ava’s Story

Ava was a happy, cheerful girl who loved to dance and cheer. In the summer of 2020, Ava started limping out of the blue and after taking her to the hospital and running a bunch of tests, they could not find the cause. Then in December she was hospitalized with what we thought was appendicitis but we’re then given the news that it was Ewing Sarcoma. After 14 rounds of chemo, 35 rounds of proton radiation and 10 more rounds of radiation for the lungs, Ava is home and recovering and has returned to school and enjoying time with our family and friends.

Lindsay: Mighty Myrella's Family

For over four months, 5 year old "mighty" Myrella Lewis has been going through chemo treatments for Burkitt Lymphoma, a treatable but very aggressive childhood cancer. Since her cancer is so aggressive, the chemo is very intense and this means that she rarely gets a break from the side effects. She is in hospital in Toronto most of the time and too immunocompromised to attend school, so she misses her friends, teachers and family, especially her 14 year old brother. Myrella's brother Jayden has stepped up to take care of their household and their dog without a single complaint while her parents concentrate on getting his sister well. He started secondary school, keeps his grades up and stays out of trouble. Myrella continues to play through the pain while she dazzles everyone with her smile and sunny attitude and her brother continues to be a major support. Despite their age gap, their bond continues to grow through their mutual love for video games. Their parents hope to be able to give them a Christmas to remember and lots to do together while Myrella fights (virtually and in real life!). Thank you for considering this list.

London: Dominic’s Story

Dominic was only 9 years old when he was diagnosed with a form of brain cancer known as Medulloblastoma. He endured harsh radiation treatments and chemo therapies in order to beat the cancer. After over a year of treatments, in August 2020 was declared NED. He is now 12 years old, and is officially two years cancer free!

Mississauga: The Smith Family

Hello my name is Marie and I'd like to tell you a little bit about my daughter and about the day when my daughter was diagnosed with a Leukaemia (ALL). One day after her 3rd birthday she got a high fever so we want to Sick Kids hospital. The nurses started doing their job around my daughter, they do so many checks. After a few hours the doctor comes and says I'm sorry your daughter is diagnosed with ALL. That moment I was panicked, all my life crashed down right away. After some days in hospital, they tell me chemotherapy will start and help her a lot. After 2.5 years have passed and my daughter is now free of cancer. Thank you to Sick Kids, Dr. Gupta, all nurses, and all staff for being kind to me and my daughter, thank you so much.

Mississauga: Aseel’s Story

Hi my name is Aseel. I’m 16 years old. I was 11 when I was first diagnosed with leukemia (AML). It was very hard for me and my family to process, but thankfully I was able to beat cancer. The way we found out I had cancer was because of a five day fever, loss of appetite, and losing weight really fast. I went to the emergency to get tested and later that night we found out I had cancer. Then they rushed me to SickKids to start with the treatment right away.

Markham: Selena's Family

Selena was a happy, silly 2 years old girl when she was diagnosed with Leukemia in Nov. 2019. It´s been 3 years since that day and despite of all up and downs which make our family and relations stronger than before, thankfully our strong girl turned into survivor and she's living healthily. She's thrilled by watching YouTube videos and asking to buy her favourites all the time lol. She has a big brother too. Sam and Selena are competing to get more and more everyday.

Oro-Medonte:

2.5 yrs after finishing treatment for leukemia, Lillian relapsed in June 2020. To keep her safe, her family kept themselves home and away from family & friends to keep her healthy as she gave everything she had to fight leukemia again. Four months as an inpatient in hospital was extremely hard on Lillian and her family during the first 5 months of treatment. It was especially hard on Lillian having to attend school virtually and because of her compromised immune system she even had to miss out on Thanksgiving and Halloween. While she was home for Christmas during treatment, she did spend one New Years Eve in hospital while dealing with anaphylactic allergy to a platelet transfusion and kept her away from celebrating with her sisters. Today, she is 5 months out of treatment and doing well, getting back to being a spunky 9 yr old, but still worries every time that she feels ill that the cancer may be returning. This will be her first Christmas in three years where she will be able to celebrate with family, enjoy all the delicious eats of the holiday, and not have to deal with the side effects from her chemo meds.

Niagara Falls: Adrian's Family

Adrian was diagnosed with T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma in the summer of 2021 when he was four years old. He recently turned six, began maintenance chemotherapy, and has even been able to attend a bit of grade 1 this fall. He loves to read and has thoroughly enjoyed researching and writing out his Christmas list this year. He loves hiking, biking, and anything to do with science, reading, math, and the outdoors. He has a two-year-old sister Greta who he adores, and he can’t wait to enjoy the holidays with her and the rest of our family. Thank you from our entire family for any magic you can bring to his Christmas this year.

Scarborough: Ali Family

When Ayaan was born, he was very healthy, loud, strong normal baby. At 3 year old everyone started complaining they couldn’t understand what he was saying. His speech wasn’t clear, I didn’t notice because I understood him and I thought it was normal. I started paying close attention to everything after. He was always choking on his food (at that time doctor said he’s just giving you a hard time) and he wasn’t sleeping like a normal child. He was loud and noisy. He was underweight because wasn’t eating properly. I went to every doctor possible and there was no diagnosis. Ayaan would fall to his knees breathing heavily. The sun bothered his eyes… all of a sudden there were so many things that were bothering him I couldn’t understand. I told the paediatrician: keep him for 1 day, you aren’t understanding me, something is wrong with him. The doctor finally said let’s do a sleep study overnight. I had no idea there was a test of this sort. But it was a 1-2 year wait. I was also following up with an asthma specialist who said what I’m describing sounds like asthma. But he looked at him and said he doesn’t have asthma…Meanwhile the paediatrician booked a G-tube surgery for Ayaan to bring his weight up. I finally broke down to asthma specialist if he could help me get a sleep study done where adults get done because a year had passed by and I hadn’t got appointment from Sick Kids for a sleep study. He agreed and I received an appointment that was 6 months away. I was relieved at least I got an appointment. There was a month left of the G-tube surgery. I got a call from the adult sleep study that there was a cancellation and if i wanted to bring Ayaan the same night! I went and got the test done and same week I got response from the asthma doctor that he has answers to my questions but he wants me to do 1 last test: MRI. I was happy that we were making progress and not realizing what was about to happen. I took Ayaan to the MRI and that’s the night I found out Ayaan's diagnosis. The journey before the diagnosis was so painful and frustrating, I could not wrap my head around all of the doctors not believing me. But Thank God we found out and everything else was in Sick Kids' hands. And from there Sick Kids did and still are doing everything to make Ayaan feel better and healthy. He had a 7 hour surgery to remove the tumour partially - as much as they could. About 25% of his tumour is wrapped around his nervous system in the brain. He had chemotherapy for a couple of years and then wasn’t showing any change and was switched to an oral medication as he grew older. We are in great hands. He gets followed up with all his tests every 6 months now (before it was every 3 months and before that it was monthly).

Scarborough: Logan's Story

Logan's journey started when he was diagnosed with unilateral retinoblastoma at 5 months old. For a couple of months, my husband and I had noticed that our son had an odd glow in his left eye. We mostly saw this glow when we took a picture of our son using the flash on our phone cameras. We dismissed it thinking it was likely the flash or bad lighting. After some time, we noticed the glow under dim lighting, depending on the angle the light was hitting his eye. This became concerning, and so we decided to take him to our pediatrician for a checkup. Our pediatrician had never seen anything like this before and was perplexed herself. We saw an ophthalmologist and were immediately sent to SickKids where we received the cancer diagnosis and treatment. Logan lost his left eye at 6 months old to retinoblastoma, but his pathology came back clean which resulted in just clinic check ups every quarterly. Logan is now a 5.5 year old little boy finishing up his final year of kindergarten. His artificial eye doesn't stop him from doing anything anyone else can. He is brave, he is strong, and he's our little hero. In 2020, I wrote a children's storybook called, "The Extraordinary Eye" to help raise awareness and to instill confidence in children just like Logan all around the world. Logan is always thinking of others and donating his books to kids who need the boost of confidence to help them along their journey. Logan enjoys playing video games, board games, and arts and crafts with his two sisters Kaylee and Sydney.

Oshawa: Nate's Journey

Nate was diagnosed with T-Cell leukemia only 3 months after his sister, who was a newborn, was diagnosed with a severe brain malformation resulting in uncontrolled seizures. Nate spent a lot of time in the ICU and on 8A to get his body back to health after his diagnosis, and to start his chemo treatment. During one of many of his stays at SickKids, his sister underwent brain surgery at 11 months old. Nate, even though going though his own battle, was always worried about his baby sister, who was 2 floors down from him most of the time. But with COVID he wasn’t able to see her. Nate was and still is very brave and strong and has shown his friends and family this during his battle, and we are very proud of him.

Richmond Hill: Adrian’s Adventure

Our oldest son - Adrian (2.5 yr old) - was diagnosed with leukaemia on Father’s Day weekend in 2022. Adrian is a brave, curious and adventurous little boy who loves the outdoors. Everything we’ve put on this Christmas list is to help keep him active (and tools for dad to build/assemble things). Merry Christmas and God bless.

Sarnia: Team Ben

Ben was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia last year at the age of eight. He is one of four boys in the family (ages 13-6). Mom has had to take a year and a half off work to care for Ben. Expenses have added up. Last Christmas, Ben was in and out of the hospital and our family did not get a lot of time together. This year we are hoping to be home as Ben is at a less intense phase of treatment. However, we are feeling the effects of the past 1.5 years financially and Christmas will be a challenge this year. Any help in buying Ben and his brothers a gift is so appreciated.

Toronto: Iris - Her Smile

After we returned from our family vacation this year, we took Iris to Sick Kids after she exhibited 2 days of vomiting, diarrhea, and fevers. We were expecting the doctors to tell us that she had a simple bug and to go home and keep giving her fluids, Tylenol and Advil. Instead, we got the unexpected news that Iris had leukemia and would need to be admitted to the hospital as soon as possible. After 6 weeks of hospital admission, a grim induction phase, and a failed blinatumomab, we learned that she has persistent and aggressive cancer. She has fought salmonella, a brutal norovirus infection, and COVID. We are currently waiting for CAR-T therapy production with infusion, projected early December. If successful this would mean a hospital admission for a few weeks, into the holidays, and a bone marrow transplant in the coming new year. Amongst many uncertainties, It would mean the world to sponsor our family to provide Iris something special this Christmas and see her smile.

Toronto: SuperJoey’s Journey

Hi there, first just like to say thank you so much for your support. My name is Joseph but everyone calls me Joey. 2 weeks before my 2nd birthday I was diagnosed with Stage 3 lymphoma. My daddy noticed a swollen lymph node on my neck and a couple days later I was living at SickKids hospital and started my long 2 and half year journey of chemotherapy. I know it sounds like a long time but my mommy and daddy tell me I’m super strong and we just live/love life one day at a time. Everyone now calls me SuperJoey and mommy even made me an IG page so all my family and friends can follow how well I’m doing. I’m very lucky to have so much support and I know I will be able to beat this.

Toronto: Khanya's Family

Khanya's cancer journey started shortly after New Year's Day 2019 and that completely changed how we feel about the Holidays. Without any warning, then 8-year old Khanya experienced severe burning pain on her neck as she was about to sleep. We rushed her to SickKids ER, and after almost 12 hours of testing and waiting, SickKids specialists advised that Khanya has a rare cancer called Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis that has eaten away at least half of the cervical neck bone protecting her spine. We didn't even have time to process this devastating blow, but we needed to decide soon to subject Khanya to high risk procedures followed by chemo to save her from getting paralyzed from the neck down. Khanya's cheerful, sunny and optimistic personality was forever changed by cancer. She became serious and started to expect to be disappointed. At just Grade 2, she had to learn about the possibility of death. One positive experience from this terrible experience is the kindness, love and support from Khanya's entire school community from the teachers, admin, church, and parents - mostly people we didn't even know. They made us feel that we are not alone and that Khanya was loved and thought of. Khanya's 11 now and she and our family have gone through the ups and downs of remission and relapse. We have learned to value the time we have with each other and to focus on the little triumphs and blessings, and mindful of each moment that we have with each other.

Toronto: Giuseppe's Christmas Wishlist

Giuseppe was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the beginning of 2022, he was two years old. At the beginning, his fever was associated with an ear infection, but then, his symptoms got worse, he was always tired and pale and he wasn't able to walk. Our doctor requested bloodwork and at that point, it became clear that Giuseppe was really sick. After a few hours from the diagnosis, we had a bed at hospital and he started his treatment at SickKids. We were overwhelmed and scared at first as we didn’t know what was happening. Although we faced many difficult days, we kept telling ourselves that we would take it one step at a time.  My wife left her job to take care of Giuseppe and I changed my job to be closer to my family and the SickKids hospital.  We hope that next year will be easier especially for Giuseppe, who has been fighting like a real superhero! Despite the difficulties, we have met so many wonderful people throughout this journey. OPACC has been a great source of support for us and we are so grateful for everything they do to support families who are dealing with childhood cancer. The doctors, nurses and support staff have become part of our family.   Giuseppe is now in the middle of a maintenance treatment. He is a happy and energetic boy who loves to play and learn...and his smile is always there to tell us that we can face and overcome anything together.

Utterson: The Munday Family

When Owen started grade 9, he was diagnosed with a very rare form of Lynch Syndrome in his brain, and doctors gave him a month to live. Owen and his parents spent the next 6 months living between Sick Kids and the Ronald McDonald House. Radiation and chemo didn’t work. Doctors had no more options left. Owen was offered a trial and a month into the trial things started looking up. We moved to Muskoka hoping for a better future but unfortunately came upon financial troubles.

Uxbridge: Ellie’s Story

Ellie was diagnosed with Leukemia (A.L.L.) in January of 2021. She actually started feeling unwell in December 2020 (right around Christmas) but we had no idea it was due to cancer. It started with pain in her legs. She collapsed onto the bathroom floor early one morning (accompanied with on and off fevers for over a week), which sent her straight to the ER at SickKids. She has been in treatment for almost two years now!

Whitby: Sammy’s Story

Sammy is a 14 year old cancer patient. She used to be a AA hockey player. She was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma and unfortunately had to lose her right leg, which has limited her mobility. The amazing trooper that Sammy is, she is finding new passions and she now loves Harry Potter, Lego and board games we can enjoy together as a family. Sammy is so inspiring to all of us, she just changed directions and keeps on smiling.

Ajax: Troy's Journey

Diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma at age 3, Troy completed treatment at Sick Kids and did very well for many years. At age 11 he was diagnosed with colon cancer. Troy completed treatment and surgery to remove his colon after being diagnosed with a genetic disorder that forever predisposed him to several types of cancers. He was then monitored closely with upper and lower endoscopies every 6 months. Throughout the years many localized cancers were found and surgically removed with many hospital stays and recoveries from intestinal resections. At 16 Troy was again diagnosed with a lymphoma and a rectal cancer. Chemotherapy and surgery was needed again to treat him. Troy bounced back again and continued to live his life and managed to complete high school and began college. At age 20 a very aggressive rectal cancer returned, his rectum was removed with an internal J-pouch in place and an ostomy was needed. Troy continued to complete his program in college and graduated. However, he could not attend his graduation because April of 2020 was Troy's final diagnosis of Lymphoma and he just couldn’t fight anymore. Troy lost his battle to cancer after 20 yrs on July 28, 2020. [This wishlist is to support his bereaved mother and sister].

Angus: Domenic's Journey

Domenic is the oldest of 4 boys and a twin. At 5 years old he was diagnosed with Acute lymphocytic leukemia. He underwent a lot of treatments and recently finished his treatment and is in remission. He is now going to be 12 and is enjoying his life with his mom, dad, twin and 2 younger brothers.

Barrie: Bentley's Journey

Bentley was diagnosed at 2.5 years old in 2019 with stage 4 CCSK. After a long battle, Bentley passed away at 6 years old on August 15, 2022. I want to make sure his sisters have the most amazing Christmas this year.

Brampton: The Amy Family

We are a family of 5, with 3 kids: Serenity 12, Kai 10, and Abigail 7. In May 2021 the family noticed Kai’s left leg was swollen. After weeks of testing including MRI, PET scans, bloodwork and a biopsy Kai was diagnosed with stage 4, fusion positive Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare and very aggressive form of Childhood cancer. Since then he has under gone 38 days of straight radiation, over 65 weeks of chemotherapy, multiple blood transfusions, 3 surgeries and countless emergency admissions to the hospital. He remains in treatment until February 2023. Despite his significant medical complexities, Kai is a funny, vibrant kid who has missed out on so much due to this illness. On top of our son's diagnoses and intensive care needs, our oldest daughter, Serenity, has very severe and complex disabilities who requires 24/7 care. She will be the first person in the world with her disabilities to have invasive brain surgery in an attempt to give her a better quality of life, just before Christmas. Financially our family has taken a big hit caring for their needs and we are worried we won’t be able to make their Christmas a magical one this year. To be in position of needing help is a humbling one, and something that we do not take for granted. We are so grateful for any support. Thank You!

Brampton: Ryan the Lion's Story

Ryan the Lion, our T21 (Down Syndrome) champion. Roared into the world prematurely weighing exactly 4 pounds. We spent months at SickKids in the NICU as he was on oxygen. He has been a warrior since birth, had surgery at 1 day old, caught every virus due to chronic lung disease. Still he was always happy and smiling, he was the baby that never cried unless he was in pain. He just loved playing with his brothers and making others laugh. He was doing well until we took him to the hospital for bruises that appeared on his body and our world crashed when we were told our little hero had leukemia. After everything our boy fought, now he had to fight blood cancer. He went through his chemotherapy like a true champion earning the name Ryan the Lion from the nurses because he loved the song "Roar" (Katy Perry) and they would sing it to calm him down during difficult procedures. Ryan is such an inspiration to us, he gives his smiles, love and hugs freely and is a light in our lives and we couldn't imagine life without him as he completes us as a family.

Brampton: Dominic's Journey

Dominic was only 5 years old when he was first diagnosed with medulloblastoma (cancerous brain tumor). After a 4.5-hour surgery to remove the tumor, 6 months of chemotherapy (that caused permanent high frequency hearing loss) and 4 months for rehabilitation to learn to talk and walk again (a side effect from the surgery); he was happy to enjoy life again with his brothers and cancer free. Last year, when Dominic turned 13, it was heartbreaking to hear that he relapsed. Dominic had to have another 4-hour surgery to remove the tumor, complete 6 weeks of daily radiation on his brain and spine over the Christmas holidays and 6 months of chemotherapy. Now that he beat cancer twice, his wish is to be cancer free forever more and celebrate Christmas with his brothers and family (treatment free).

Brantford: Jennings Family

Our family has been going through a lot since my daughters birth. We have dealt with a lot of pain and tears along the way. Up’s and downs. Very sick days and some manageable days. The impact of her sickness has been felt by every single member of our family. Many times plans have to be changed or altered at the last minute due to unforeseen health situations. Just when we think we are getting a break and we’re ready to go, something flares up and we all have to wait. We put our lives on hold and rally to do whatever we can to help her through her crisis. Each member makes their individual sacrifice and collectively we all feel the pressure of living with a family member with a chronic, potentially life threatening health condition. We laugh with. We cry with her. We pray for her, with her. We stay by her bedside, read to her, try to entertain and distract her. We do everything we can do to keep her smiling and as happy as possible. She’s a trooper. She knows when we’re sad and trying to hide it. She knows we feel her pain, and that makes her sad. We assure her with our love and care. We remind her it’s not her fault, it’s nobody’s fault and that there are others out there like her. It’s been a long journey and we still have more to go. We are doing it together and trying our best to cherish every moment because we are family and family stick together.

Holland Landing: Larissa's Journey

Larissa is a a very happy 7 year old girl. She was diagnosed with Burkitt Lymphoma in May 2022 and has completed 6 cycles of intense chemotherapy at SickKids in October. Larissa is truly a fighter and she has recovered well from the therapy. She will go for an MRI to check the effectiveness of the treatment soon. Her eyelids and eyebrows and hair have grown a lot and hopefully she will get ready to go back to school in December.

Guelph: Team Sophie

Sophie was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma Stage 4 cancer in 2017 and has gone through uncountable chemo, radiation, immunotherapy, a surgery, and two bone marrow transplants. She relapsed in 2020 and has been through a second set of treatments and is still not cancer free. This gesture of OPACC is definitely going to make our Christmas merrier!

Georgetown: Judah’s Family

Judah was diagnosed with level 4 glioblastoma (GBM) at 6 months old. After brain surgery, multiple minor surgeries, nearly three years of chemotherapy and a lot of time in the hospital we are miraculously inching close to 6 years post diagnosis. It is a miracle that Judah is alive and able to attend school with his peers. Now he is a big brother to 3 younger siblings and is exploring new skills every day.

Lanark: The Forsyths

Hello thank you for taking the time to read ours and other families' stories. Wow I am not even sure how to begin. On Jan 21st 2019 our lives changed when we walked through the ER doors fully expecting to leave after waiting several hours there. Unfortunately that was far from our reality and 20 minutes after we arrived, our son was admitted to the ICU. This brave buddy lived in the hospital until 2021 and has been home without patient trips. He is an amazing boy who identifies on the Autism Spectrum who has overcome so many challenges. His voice/story is so powerful and humbling. His siblings have sacrificed so much and have remained his rock or he their rock :) Recently our daughter (third youngest) was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma (our son was diagnosed with T-ALL). One child was surreal and now another child with cancer as well; we are not sure there is a word to describe the emotion. We are so thankful for the resources and support, our thoughts and love go out to other children and families who are affected by this disease. Our gratitude goes out to all those who choose to make someone’s life a little brighter.

London: Quinn's Story

Quinn was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2018. She has been through so much in her short life and has fought every battle with her sweet smile and trust that it will all be okay. At 5 years old she is the strongest, bravest little girl we've ever known. Thank you for helping to put a smile on the faces of these children that deserve it so much.

London: Allison's Journey

Allison just turned 2 years old. She was born with a rare type of eye cancer affecting both eyes called retinoblastoma. When she was only 3 days old she had surgery to treat 3 tumours between both eyes. By just after her first birthday she had received 18 treatments and exams under general anesthesia and by 2 years old she was up to 27 exams and treatments under general anesthesia! We have been so lucky to receive all this care only 2 hours away in Toronto at Sick Kids. Without this lifesaving treatment she would have lost both eyes within her first year, but now with the incredible team she will hopefully end up with good vision in both eyes! Technology is amazing! She was also a patient in a study utilizing an amazing way to treat retinoblastoma seeding, which luckily seems to have benefited her so far. We will continue to have her eyes examined every couple months for several more years. Unfortunately Allison is also at a higher risk of developing a secondary cancer, but we will continue to have her followed at Sick Kids, likely for the rest of her life in hopes we can identify any issues early on and deal with accordingly. Allison has been such a brave little girl. She is a blue eyed, curly haired, bouncing bundle of gentle sweetness, with a wild laugh and a streak of daredevil in her. She loves her brothers, the alpacas on her family farm, raspberries and playing with water.

Mississauga: Rafael's Story

Rafael was diagnosed at the age of 31/2  with an Astrocytoma brain tumour. Several surgeries were done but still didn’t remove the tumour, and after 11 cycles of chemo, the tumour was stable for 7 yrs and then metastasized. In 2010 he got thyroid cancer and lung disease Stage 4. He is on oral chemo until now.

Markham: PN's Story

When our child was first diagnosed, our family was devastated. We could not believe it would happen to such a kind, sweet and lovely kid who already has gone through some surgeries when he was young. It was a tough first year for all of us, we went through lots of emotional ups and downs. One year later, my kid started to have mobility issues due to medication and now he's at a rehab hospital, hoping to get back to the "regular" routine. Your generosity would definitely cheer him up and it will be so much appreciated. Thank you!

Millbrook: The Gulliver Family

My name is Ezra. I am 2 years old. I was diagnosed with high-risk Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in May of 2022. I underwent 3 months of chemotherapy where I spent day and night at SickKids hospital in a Toronto. I have an older brother who I only got to see 5 times over the course of my treatment. I have lost my hair and had varying degrees of reactions from the chemotherapy. In September 2022 I had a bone marrow transplant from a generous anonymous donor. I was given a second chance at life. The recovery has been very hard and long but each day I get stronger. My parents had to quit their jobs to support my treatment schedule and my mom was expecting my younger sister who was born 2 weeks after I was discharged in October 2022. We have all been through a lot and appreciate any and all support. Much love!

Newmarket: The Massadeh Family

My name is Danya Massadeh, I was born a healthy child with no health problems. I was diagnosed with brain cancer, pilocytic astrocytoma, at the age of 3. I underwent brain surgery in my brainstem to remove my tumour. The result of the surgery left me with permanent damage for the rest of my life. During the surgery there was bleeding in my brain resulting in left sided hemiplegia, stroke, losing my left side mobility completely and double vision in the right eye, so I needed 3 eye surgeries to correct my double vision a little bit. After 6 months my tumour grew back an even bigger size and I began my journey with chemotherapy. I had to receive chemotherapy every week for 2 years at McMaster Hospital. Once I completed those 2 years, my tumour grew back again, I had to go for another round of chemo every week for 2 years at Sick Kids Hospital. I had to stop treatment halfway through as a clot formed in my arteries due to my port. It was too late to treat the clot in my left arm, which I still have permanently. After a couple of months my doctors decided to start another cycle of chemotherapy every week for 2 years. This chemo was the strongest and it stopped my tumour from growing but left me with a lot of side effects. The major side effect was that it stopped my hormone growth at the age of 11. At the same time of my second round of chemo at Sick Kids, my younger brother, Adam, was being treated for his heart condition, he ended up dying at Sick Kids at the age of 5 and a half after he had open heart surgery. I completed my last round of chemo in July 2010, and since then all my doctors told me to continue doing exercise and therapy for the rest of my life so I can improve my mobility. Throughout my journey I tried my best to remain positive and move on and be successful in my life. My family has been my greatest support and inspiration for me, especially my mom who has been by my side through it all, being there for all the good and the bad encouraging me to continue and never give up. I am currently 21 years old, in my 4th year of undergrad at the University of Guelph, graduating next year with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology Honours, planning to continue my masters degree. The reason why I want to share my story is because I hope someone will be inspired by my journey and are encouraged to always have hope and never give up. Throughout my journey I received a lot of support from many people, it's a long list, starting from doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, PSW's and several organizations. I have created this wish list for me and my family (mom, dad and brother) to enjoy. Thank you to all the generous sponsors, they have put a smile on all cancer survivors and their families faces.

Ottawa: The Jason-Alboim Family

My adorable 3.5 year-old son (he'll be 4 in January), Benjamin (Benji) Jason-Alboim, is now in remission for life-threatening, rare cancer (hepatoblastoma liver cancer). Benji was diagnosed on his first birthday. My husband, Jesse, currently has cancer himself and has had two major surgeries and is waiting for further investigation to decide next steps. Because Benji's and Jesse's immune system are compromised, and because of the COVID pandemic, and especially as Benji is only just recently able to get vaccinated, we've been mostly isolating at home, so Benji has been unable to go to preschool or play groups, socialize, or go out much to have fun. Benji has been an absolute superhero - bravely fighting cancer and the side effects of surgeries and harsh chemotherapy (some of which are unfortunately long-term/permanent, including some permanent disability and some delays), and all the stress and upheaval with my husband's health, while being the most fun-loving, charming, engaging, sweet, affectionate, adventurous, curious, quirky, and hilarious little boy. We haven't been working due to COVID, and with the cancer struggles for both Benji and my husband, so we would be incredibly grateful for anything.

Scarborough: Life of Qais

Qais was diagnosed with ganglioneuroblastoma at the age of 2. He had a 10 hour surgery to remove the mess from his chest. Unfortunately after that he never had a urine test done by the doctors and when he was 6 years old I just decided to take him to the doctor and she referred me back to SickKids and he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma which had spread all over his body in his bones. He then had 5 cycles of chemo, 2 cycles of high dose chemo and 2 stem cells transplant, 12 rounds of radiation and is now on his 4th cycle of immunotherapy. It has been a painful long time for my baby and our family.

[Note: The only item on Qais's wishlist is a PS5. If you would like to purchase this for him, please contact OPACC for the address as it's not showing up on the Amazon checkout].

Oshawa: Ardouin Girls

My 15 year old daughter Molly had the shock of her life and was diagnosed with stage 3 metastatic ovarian cancer. The mass grew so fast over 3 months during the summer of COVID, it caused pulmonary embolisms and deep vein thrombosis. In September 2020 she was faced with the knowledge that she will never bear children with having to go through a total hysterectomy. Being a single mom with 2 younger sisters at home it was very difficult to manage being full time in hospital plus find care for them. 2 days after I brought her home from an adult hospital (PM) because Sick Kids couldn’t accommodate such a case, my father passed of a stroke away saying he gave his life for her. My mother left us for a scammer and took everything with her having no contact with us since. We have been left with just us 4 and I struggle every day to keep it normal for them. Thank you for listening to our story.

Richmond Hill: Al-Musawi Family

My now 10 year old son was diagnosed with neuroblastoma 5 years years ago. I was a full-time student at university working towards my degree and I had my two other children to care for at the time (I have a total of 3 boys). During that time, my husband had just immigrated to Canada and we were planning to start our life together here, so adjusting to the cancer diagnosis was one of the many struggles we were facing, in additional to financial struggles. We had to put school/life on hold and focus on my son’s health. He is doing better and still has follow ups at Sick Kids with his oncologist. During our time at the hospital, after his surgery, it was Halloween. One of the things that consistently put a smile on his face were the gifts he received, which were from the generosity of donors that we appreciate to this day. We still look at the pictures with the Halloween costumes of him in the hospital and that is one of the things that has made our journey more bearable, as difficult as it was. I graduated in June of this year and am now working part-time while my husband has an unstable seasonal job. I hope to be able to put a smile on my children’s face with the gifts they chose with your much appreciated generosity.

St. Catharines: The Fodors

Izabelle our 8 year old was diagnosed with (MPAL PH+) leukemia in July we had a long 3 months in hospital where she had life threatening complications. She needed emergency surgery and luckily pulled through even though all odds were against her. After a long recovery we finally got released to come home, where she can carry on her treatment journey as an outpatient. It has only been a short time since diagnosis but it has felt like a lifetime for everyone, with everything she has been through in this short while.

Stouffville: The Tsang Family

Jayden Tsang was diagnosed with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma in March 2021 when he was 10 yrs old. After fighting with cancer for 6 months at SickKids, Jayden was able to back to school in March 2022. It was an extremely difficult time for our families as the parents had to take care of Jayden in the hospital and little sister with 88 yrs old grandma at home. Luckily, we went through those times of struggles, and we feel thankful for all the treatments and care Jayden received at SickKids. We will keep doing our best to take care of our kids, and Thank You for all you have done to support us!! Really appreciated! Thank You and Wish You Happy Holiday!

Toronto: Matteo's Battle

Our son Matteo was a funny, handsome, and bright 10 year old child with dreams of becoming a soccer player. His baby sister was born only 6 months before he was diagnosed with two types of leukemia - AML and ALL. What a combination! He was devastated as we had to cancel a soccer tournament in Montreal planned for the next month. Doctors at Sick Kids tried their best to figure out the best treatment options for him, but unfortunately after becoming so ill from the perfect bone marrow match, he passed away on July 30, 2017 only 8 months after his diagnosis. This was so devastating to our family and especially his siblings. His siblings were only 7, 4, and 6 months. His 7 year old sister at the time was so upset because she thought he would not be able to come home for her birthday in August. I remember how difficult it was trying to explain to her that he would not be coming home ever again. I tear up thinking about that moment every time. No matter how many years go by, this time of the year (Nov. 19) breaks my heart because that is when he was diagnosed. My children never got a gift from their brother before, so it would be nice to have something to remind them of him! Thank you for allowing us to share our story and for this opportunity.

Toronto: April vs ALL

April's journey started in September of 2020 when she was a few days before reaching the 6 months of age mark. She had a few days of low grade fever and we thought it was just teething but then we saw some small bruises on her inner thigh. April was diagnosed with infant acute lymphoblastic leukemia a few hours after we got to SickKids. April was born during the first week of the very first lockdown, then the cancer hit. We did not see any family for about two years. April is very happy child even when she was neutropenic or on oxygen support, she is always full of sass. April had to skip some developmental milestones such as tummy time, crawling, etc. due to being inpatient for so long. April has been through so much during the first year of her life, from having an adverse reaction to the blood/platelets transfusions, to intense chemotherapy treatments and all the side effects that came with it. April just completed her treatment plan this October and is still coming back to SickKids monthly for followup. She is doing well considering her condition. April has an older brother who adores her and she just wants to keep up with whatever he is doing. Since April got sick, I (mom) had to resign from work, so this Christmas mom needs a little help from Santa to help celebrate April's accomplishments with something both April and her brother can enjoy or the whole family can enjoy. Wishing everyone a warm, joyous, peaceful and good health Holidays.

Toronto: Super Alice

Alice is 3 and just completed 17 months of chemotherapy! Unfortunately it didn’t have the effect we hoped for. The doctors are letting her have a few months break and the next step is surgery which has many risks. So we are just concentrating on this year and making the most of it. Alice has been amazing through all of this and she is our superhero.

Toronto: Isabella’s Story

In April this year and at 13 years of age, Isabella was diagnosed with leukemia. She is a beautiful warrior, and even as she undergoes intense chemotherapy, she rarely complains. She misses seeing her classmates, her friends and family - and looks forward to the day that she can get back to living the life of a teen. We know that she will get through this and we know that our warrior will be an even stronger girl when this is all over. We love her with all of our hearts and are in awe of the strength of her spirit. Her favourite line these days is written on the bottom of her socks - which says “Hey cancer, you picked the wrong girl.”

Vaughan: Selena’s story

Selena was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma a month ago and has begun treatment. It’s all very new and very difficult to talk about. Thank you.

Woodstock: Rachel's Family Journey

Rachel was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma brain cancer 3 days after her 8th birthday. What followed was multiple brain surgeries, 8 weeks of radiation to the brain and spine, and many years of chemotherapy. This journey has been a long road that affects the whole family. Your new "normal" is never quite the same as before. Rachel has been hit with every single aftereffect of the cancer-saving treatments, which has altered and affected every single part of her smaller body. She even had a secondary growth near the thyroid. We keep putting one foot in front of the other, and take it day by day. We send Christmas Wishes to each and every one of you, Blessings!!!

Woodstock: Keiran’s Story

Keiran was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma on Valentine’s Day shortly after his 2nd birthday. After 3 years, 3 relapses, COVID, and 6 surgeries he has been in remission for a year! We are incredibly grateful to have him with us this Christmas as we have met so many others who have lost their loved ones. Keiran will be 6 soon and loves to play with his older sister Rebecca. He loves cars, superheroes, travel and being with family. He’s a loving and strong little man who we cherish everyday. Being a single income family in these times is extremely difficult, let alone one with a sick child. We thank everyone for the support and love and wish everyone a wonderful holiday season.