Community support uplifting for family

A boy who was responding well to his cancer treatment is back in hospital after doctors found that his leukemia had returned.

  • Aug. 21, 2016 11:00 a.m.
Shauna Desa

Shauna Desa

A boy who was responding well to his cancer treatment is back in hospital after doctors found that his leukemia had returned while the family was in Vancouver for ongoing treatment.

Jayden Desa, 6, his parents Shauna and David, and his younger siblings Quinton and Kenyan are back in Vancouver for seven to nine months for more intense and aggressive chemotherapy, radiation, and finally a bone marrow transplant in the hopes of curing him. After the transplant, he will spend several more months in hospital in isolation.

We are in for the fight of our lives but Jayden is a very strong, incredibly brave little boy and we put our trust and hope in God’s plan,” said Shauna by email. “So now the five of us are facing another long and treacherous journey. Only through love, prayers, support, faith and hope can we get through this.”

On July 18, 2014, Shauna says her family’s world was turned upside down when Jayden, then 3, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

They noticed Jayden had some odd bruising and took him to the doctor in Stewart, where they were living because David was posted there as an RCMP officer, said Shauna. The doctor sent them to hospital here in Terrace for labwork, and they discovered Jayden likely had leukemia.

Jayden and Shauna were immediately medivaced to BC Childrens Hospital within a few hours of diagnosis, said Shauna.

Then began a nine-month-long journey of intensive chemotherapy and radiation treatment,” said Shauna.

The family relocated to Vancouver and spent their time at the hospital and the Ronald McDonald House, very far away from all of their family and friends, she added.

It was a very difficult time filled with many ups and downs,” said Shauna.

In April 2015, the intensive portion of Jayden’s treatment was completed and the family returned home to Terrace, she said.

Jayden entered a maintenance phase of his treatment which consisted of oral chemo and steroids, chemotherapy every month through his Venous Access Device – a surgically implanted port in Jayden’s chest to put chemo into and take blood work from – and chemotherapy every three months into his spine.

We settled into a new ‘normal’ life since life after a cancer diagnosis is never the same,” said Shauna. “Jayden began attending preschool and participated in ju-jitsu, swimming, and soccer. He loved bike riding and skateboarding and for many months appeared to be responding well to the treatment.”

On June 13, 2016, the family was in Vancouver for Jayden’s scheduled spinal chemotherapy and monthly labwork, when they received the devastating news that Jayden’s cancer had returned.

Our hearts just broke,” said Shauna, adding that the family has already been blessed with support from local fitness instructor and friend, Stacey Primosch, who put on two bootcamp classes by donation in July to raise money for the family.

We are so grateful to everyone that has shown us their support and love in some way,” said Shauna. “It uplifts us and helps give us strength as we face this unbelievably difficult path. Terrace is an incredible community and we are blessed to call it home.”