Leanne and George Wilkinson brought their young son Brady to the Saskatoon City Hospital when he had come down with a high fever.
After running numerous tests, the doctors in Saskatoon could still not determine what was wrong. They transferred Brady to the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary to run even more tests. When Brady’s entire test came back ‘abnormal’, the family knew something was terribly wrong with their little boy.
At eight-months-old, Brady was diagnosed with Juvenile Myelomocytic Leukemia (JMML) on July 4, 2008. Brady immediately began chemotherapy treatments during the summer while doctors searched for a match for a future stem cell transplant. After learning of the extensive treatment Brady would undergo in Calgary, Leanne, George, and their older son Logan, age two, arrived at Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta on September 29, 2008.
Since Brady was diagnosed, the Wilkinson’s lives have been put on hold. “Everything is about Brady right now,” says George, “we don’t really have a life.” As much as Leanne and George are worried about Brady’s illness, they are still concerned with making life as normal as possible for Logan. “We want him to feel normal and happy as well,” says Leanne. While the family adjusted to a new sense of normal, you could always find one of the quiet Wilkinson’s lifting up another family in the House and Brady offering a smile to go along with it.
Their experience at the House has been “amazing” says Leanne. “We wouldn’t know what we would do without it,” adds George. They told Logan when they first arrived here that his House would be their new “home” for a while. Little Logan replied with, “Why then are there so many people living in my house?”
Brady had his stem cell transplant on October 24, 2008. After the initial surgery, he had some severe complications. Brady developed a form on pneumonia caused by aggravation when removing his breathing tube. Brady also stopped breathing during his radiation treatment. But, little Brady overcame everything with flying colors, always with a smile that warms your heart instantly.
UPDATE (written by mom, Leanne): We are happy to say that Brady has been cancer free for four years now and although we will never forget the rough times we went through to get to this point, Brady has no recollection of his treatment, he only knows he was sick when he was a baby and that he is better now. In the summer his favourite things to do are spend time at the lake with his family and do some fishing, golfing and tubing. He just started playing hockey this winter and although he is a bit smaller than the rest of the kids out there he makes up for his size with his enthusiasm and big heart. When he grows up he says he is going to be a builder, since his older brother wants to be an architect, Brady says he will build the buildings for him. Brady is doing amazingly well. We are enjoying being at the place in life we are at right now. The memories of what we went through with appointments and treatments are now fading away and being replaced with memories of the lake and hockey games.