Kallie Albert

Kallie Albert

Thornhill girl battles leukemia

Fundraising is underway in support of Hailey Pettit

A little girl diagnosed with leukemia is fighting the disease with a smile.

Hailey Pettit, 6, has been at BC Children’s Hospital since January 5 for treatment of Burkitt’s Leukemia.

Her mom Sherry Pettit has been by her side since they were medevaced to Vancouver the same day she was diagnosed, said her dad Ted Pettit, who tries to travel down to see her once a month and who uses a webcam to speak with her daily.

The disease is very aggressive so the treatment is just as aggressive, said Ted.

Hailey’s beginning her fifth round of chemotherapy, which is about one week of treatment and one week without treatment to give her body a chance to recover, he said.

In spite of it all, Hailey is still “a ray of sunshine,” said Ted. You can see that in her photos but it’s even more evident in person, he added.

“When you see her face to face, she brightens up the room,” he said, adding at times she does feel sad. “Both my girls are my heroes,” he said, referring to Hailey and her older sister Kyra, 11.

Hailey didn’t want anyone to shave their head for her because she didn’t want them to be uncomfortable, but Ted came up with an idea to do something for her.

She likes pigtails so he decided to try to grow some for her, which also includes growing a goatee as pigtails might grow faster there and not on his head, which he shaves.

The outpouring of community support has been amazing, he said.

“I don’t think I was prepared for the amount of support, the amount of love and support this town has shown, it’s completely overwhelming,” said Ted. “It’s kind of wonderful so while she’s there, she knows she’s not alone.”

A Facebook page, Team Hailey, provides updates on Hailey, photos and is where anyone can post greetings to Hailey, who is expected to be in hospital for another six to eight months.

In a message from Vancouver, Sherry said, “Hailey is my HERO…I am so very proud of her strength through this journey… We feel wrapped by the arms of our community…I can not convey how this makes us feel….thank you to one and all.”

To learn more about fundraisers for Hailey, see the Team Hailey Facebook page.