Leah Wiebe’s hard-fought battle against aggressive leukemia has come to an end. The 30-year-old mother of two passed away in her sleep Oct. 1 in a Vancouver hospice.
Her brother-in-law Mark Magee shared the sad news on Facebook over the weekend.
“Our Beautiful Leah, a fighter till the very end, went home to be with Jesus, today. She passed away peacefully in her sleep on October 1st, 2017 at 1:49 pm.
“Our hearts our completely broken, however, we know that she is finally at peace, free from all pain, anxiety &struggle. She is home at last!!
“We want to thank everyone once again for your incredibly big hearts that have walked with us through this journey. You have sacrificed your time &money, fallen on your knees in fervent prayer, made meals, fundraised, encouraged &loved us every step of the way.
“Words will never be enough to thank you for loving Leah, for taking her into your hearts and for making her your daughter, sister &friend. You are all forever in our hearts.”
Wiebe was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) May 3 last year and within 48 hours was medivaced to the Leukemia and Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Vancouver General Hospital where she underwent tests before beginning chemotherapy a few days later, May 7.
Her husband Ryan and their two sons Oliver, then 4, and Lincoln, eight months old, moved south to be with her. Many fundraisers around the community helped raise money to ease their financial worries while there. Doctors had told the family they would have to be there for a year.
In July of this year, doctors told her family she only had a few weeks to live unless she could get into the CAR-T therapy program in the U.S. – it’s not offered in Canada and medical insurance here wouldn’t cover any of the other necessary hospital and medical expenses.
The BC Ministry of Health initially said it would not cover expenses for experimental treatment. However, during the Wiebe family’s ordeal the U.S. Federal Drug Administration, B.C. approved the treatment and agreed to cover the expenses. Money raised during that time went to cover any other medical costs while they were in Seattle for the CAR-T therapy program. Otherwise it was saved for a bone marrow transplant after the treatment was complete.
Unfortunately, the CAR-T didn’t work and a second round of the treatment was also unsuccessful. In a Sept. 27, 2017 Facebook update, Magee wrote that Leah and her family had returned to Vancouver and she was in hospice care. She passed away several days later.