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Celebrating Jessica ringing the bell

Thursday May 14, 2020

  • Cancer

Jessica was diagnosed with Wilms tumor – a type of childhood cancer that starts in the kidneys – one week before her 3rd birthday. Since then, she has endured a long and intense eight months of chemotherapy, radiation and four surgeries. Her main care team is from Sickkids, but Jessica and her family live in cottage country, so the drive to Southlake’s Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario satellite clinic offered them a much easier and convenient option to get to for appointments and treatments.

“We love both hospitals so much, we have spent time on the paediatrics unit at Southlake twice as well and the nurses there are amazing.” –Katie, Jessica’s mom

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Jessica and her family have had to become more cautious about cleanliness and health since they began receiving care after her diagnosis in October. Jessica was used to always having two people with her at appointments, either Dad or Grandma, and Mom. But when visitor and support restrictions were put in place for the safety of all patients, Jessica was only able to have Mom with her. Toy rooms closed and masks became required, and all of it was a bit of an adjustment for a 3-year-old who didn’t understand social distancing and the reasons for it.

They also did not foresee having to change the way they planned to celebrate Jessica reaching the end of her treatment.

Jessica, being a true princess at heart, dressed up in her finest princess attire, and on Tuesday, May 12, she got to ring the bell that signaled the last of her chemo treatments.

Our staff at the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre commemorated this special moment with a royal farewell of cheers and clapping as Jessica left her last appointment and returned home to celebrate with her loving parents, her two big brothers, her big sister and her baby brother. Jessica will be four in September.