Young mother battling aggressive form of leukemia

Family of Leah Wiebe putting on fundraisers to help family with finances for the time they are living in Vancouver while she gets treatment.

Leah Wiebe with husband Ryan and their two sons

A young wife and mother’s life has been turned upside down with a diagnosis of cancer that will see her undergo intense treatment for the next year.

Leah Wiebe, 28, went to the doctor for some bruising May 3 and was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), says her sister Ruth Magee.

Within 48 hours, Leah was medivaced to the Leukemia and Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Vancouver General Hospital where she began many agonizing tests, says Ruth.

On May 7, she began chemotherapy. Leah’s doctor informed her that she will be in treatment there for the next year.

Her husband Ryan will not be able to work full time or at all, because he will be needed for her care and that of their two boys, Oliver, 4, and Lincoln, eight months old.

On a GoFundMe page set up by Ruth, Leah wrote about how she’s doing. “This is our life right now. Staring outside the glass, watching every day go by, business as usual. Except it’s not business as usual. It’s frozen into a new reality. I’m grappling to understand just what this reality looks like for me and Ryan, and my boys, and my parents, and my family, and my everyone,” she says.

People keep saying I’m so strong, but they don’t see me here. In fits of emotions I can’t control. I don’t feel strong. Thankfully everyone around me is being strong, lifting my weary body…Ryan’s been my rock, as everyone who knows him would expect….”

Ruth says Leah is currently on maternity leave from Studio 3, where she worked as an esthetician.

She is generous, kind, personable, compassionate and loves people with all her heart,” says Ruth, adding that Leah is a fighter, having tackled another tough medical condition with her oldest boy, Oliver.

Last year, he was diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) and a neurological disorder, which was an extremely devastating time for Leah and Ryan, says Ruth.

CAS is an uncommon speech disorder in which a child has difficulty making accurate movements when speaking because the brain has difficulty directing or coordinating the movements, according to the Mayo Clinic website.

Leah became Oliver’s advocate and found the best therapy and care for him, part of which took their family to Detroit, Michigan to the Kaufman Children’s Centre for two weeks of intensive therapy.

She would move heaven and earth to get the best care and future for her son,” says Ruth.

Now the focus is on Leah and the cost of the whole family moving, and living in Vancouver without working is substantial.

We don’t know what the future holds at this point, but we know that the cost of travel, accommodations and childcare will be added to their bills, mortgage, and already weighty life expenses,” says Ruth.

Ruth and Leah’s mom, Moe Rosenau, has also moved to Vancouver to help with Leah’s care. She will be living with Leah and her family to share the childcare and caregiving for Leah.

The first of several fundraisers is Love for Leah at her workplace Studio 3 from 9-5 this Sunday, May 22. All services that day are by cash donation. There will be a list of suggested service prices.

There will be prizes, raffles, mini hand treatments, five-minute face and chair massages.

Owner Wesley Hiller is available to do makeup. Treat yourself to a cupcake or some goodies by donation.

Anyone who will be out of town or can’t make it, can always drop by to make a cash donation during opening hours.

Hiller is taking email money transfer donations. And if the shop raises $5,000, he is going to get his hair shaved off.