Community rallies for honorary Tour de Rock rider battling return of childhood brain tumor – Sooke News Mirror
As Tour De Rock returns post-pandemic to celebrate its 25th anniversary, it provides an opportunity to hear from families directly impacted by the efforts of emergency personnel participating in this Island-wide hike.
In Victoria, the Lassam family is sharing their story in hopes of raising awareness about childhood cancer and the continued need for research.
“The most important thing for us is to raise awareness about pediatric cancer and the need for more funding,” says Morgan Lassam of Fairfield, whose daughter Olivia was diagnosed with pilocytic astrocytoma in the cerebellum and brainstem there. is almost four years old at the age of eight.
“There really isn’t enough funding for childhood cancer research and it’s desperately needed. So getting that awareness and support for events like the Tour de Rock is really important to us.
When Morgan and John Lassam brought Olivia to the Royal Jubilee Hospital emergency department in February 2019, they had no way of knowing their lives were about to be turned upside down.
Olivia had been sick for a month and the doctor quickly sent her for an emergency MRI. The next morning, Olivia was preparing for what would be an extensive 10-hour surgery to try to remove a brain tumor. Following the operation, Olivia developed posterior fossa syndrome, losing the ability to speak, walk and swallow, and move the left side of her body.
The Lassam family would spend the next three years alongside Olivia as she gradually regained these abilities through intensive drug treatment at Sunny Hill Health Center in Vancouver. Against all odds, she made an almost full recovery from posterior Fossa syndrome, even learning to ride a two-wheeled bicycle again last summer.
Then, in February of this year, the family received the devastating news that Olivia’s tumor was growing back.
“It’s been a long process, a whirlwind really, and it continues to be a long process, but I think we’ve been really lucky. There’s been a lot of support – outside support and community support. We’ve met some really amazing people, amazing families. There’s definitely a community when it comes to childhood cancer,” says Morgan.
The Lassams were able to visit Camp Goodtimes this summer with family, making memories and new friends that will carry them through the challenges ahead. While Olivia returned to school last September, she is receiving weekly chemotherapy and will continue to receive treatment next year.
This fall, Olivia is also an honorary Tour de Rock rider.
const. Chris Van Swieten of the Victoria Police Department has been training hard with his Tour de Rock comrades for months, preparing for the upcoming 1,200 kilometer bike ride across Vancouver Island to raise funds for pediatric cancer research and supporting Camp Goodtimes.
Their efforts help ensure that families like the Lassams have the opportunity to get away for a few weeks each summer, reconnect with other families facing similar challenges, and let children like Olivia and her siblings just be. children.
Olivia and her family hope to join Van Swieten on the final leg of his journey as he and the other runners return home on Friday, October 7.
Do you have a tip for the story? Email: [email protected]
Cops for CancerTour de Rock