When Krista Tellier took her four-year-old son Caden to the hospital on Dec. 29th with concerns of him having a jaundice skin colouring, she didn’t expect him to be diagnosed with leukemia.
But that’s exactly what happened. After doing some blood work on Caden, the doctor came out and told Krista that “Something was wrong” with the blood and it “Wasn’t good.” Krista soon found herself and Caden whisked away via ambulance to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.
“It was shocking,” said Krista, adding that at the time she had little information from the doctor before arriving at Stollery.
Caden was released from the hospital on Jan. 17, but his recovery is just beginning. He and his mother make weekly trips to Edmonton for treatment.
While the Telliers, like all Canadians, enjoy free healthcare, it’s a common misconception that all such bills are covered. Krista still has to pay for things like Caden’s medication and fuel for the weekly trips for treatment. Those bills can add up.
So, Krista’s friends Stacey McTrowe and Aimee Robinson began organizing a benefit for her and Caden. They planned a modest fundraiser with the goal of raising about $1,000 through a bake sale and small silent auction items.
Then, Lacombe Minor Hockey got wind of Caden’s situation. Caden was just about to begin his amateur career with Lacombe Minor Hockey before being diagnosed and now will have to wait at least three and a half years before doing any team sports.
Lacombe Minor Hockey rallied around the cause begun by McTrowe and Robinson, putting them in contact with others who may be able to help. From there, local schools heard and did the same. McTrowe said the effect quickly snowballed.
“What happened after that, is like, crazy,” said McTrowe. She added that she was overwhelmed by the support that was being shown for the small fundraiser she and Robinson had planned.
Needless to say, the benefit has outgrown its humble beginnings. People are still jumping on board to help and Robinson said straight donations received have already doubled the initial goal before the benefit has even been held.
Leto’s Steak and Seafood has offered to host the benefit and provide space free of charge. Entertainment has also been arranged for the evening free of charge.
Items for silent auction, like signed sports memorabilia and tons of gift cards have been donated as well and there will also be raffl es held. McTrowe added that the fundraiser will be set up so those who wish to spend either or a lot, or a little in order to help and have some fun will be able to do so.
Krista said she has been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster of late, with the news of her son having cancer, to the overwhelming news of her friends planning a benefit for him. She said learning about the benefit was also a bit of a shock.
“Actually, I didn’t find out for a while, they were going to keep it a secret.”
She added that the event soon grew too big for McTrowe and Robinson to keep it from her however and she learned of it when she was contacted by Lacombe Minor Hockey asking for a photo of Caden and permission to distribute it in order to promote the benefit.
All three of the women said the support shown for the benefit has been overwhelming.
Krista said that Caden is too young to really understand what is happening to him. He only knows he is sick and needs to make a trip once a week to the hospital, something he does not enjoy at all.
Caden isn’t old enough to truly recognize the support that the community is showing him either, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t appreciated.
“It’s just amazing how everybody is being so supportive,” said Robinson. “It makes you feel good that there are people out there, that care.”