Brav­ery per­son­i­fied

Com­mu­nity backs 11-year-old Green­wood Square girl fight­ing leukemia

Annapolis Valley Register - - NEWS -

Karissa Bezan­son car­ries an eight-foot long string of brav­ery beads wher­ever she goes.

Each bead rep­re­sents a med­i­cal pro­ce­dure the 11-year-old has un­der­gone at the IWK Health Cen­tre in Hal­i­fax since she was di­ag­nosed with leukemia in early Novem­ber.

Karissa can eas­ily tell you which pro­ce­dure ev­ery sin­gle one of the nearly 200 beads rep­re­sents. Her favourite is a smi­ley face she re­ceived the day she lost her hair.

The park­ing lot of the Kingston Lions Hall was packed through­out the day Feb.11 as hun­dreds of guests came out to show their sup­port for Karissa and her mother, Shan­non Hohmann.

The ben­e­fit, a silent auc­tion with en­ter­tain­ment and re­fresh­ments, was or­ga­nized by Lorrie Penny in an ef­fort to help Karissa’s mother keep up with the travel and med­i­cal costs associated with the treat­ments while she’s on a leave of ab­sence from work to care for her lit­tle girl.

Karissa is un­der­go­ing in­ten­sive chemo­ther­apy treat­ments that reg­u­larly re­quire sev­eral trips to the IWK or Val­ley Re­gional Hospi­tal in Kentville each week.

Penny was thrilled so many vol­un­teers and gen­er­ous donors were ea­ger to pitch in and help make the ben­e­fit a suc­cess.

“I prayed that this is what would hap­pen but I didn’t want my hopes too high… but it’s so phe­nom­e­nal,” she said.

“I think I’m in a dream.” Hohmann was moved to tears by the kind­ness of even com­plete strangers who stopped to give Karissa some en­cour­ag­ing words at the ben­e­fit.

“We’re very over­whelmed and thank­ful for the turnout. It was way more than we ever ex­pected. She’s a spe­cial lit­tle girl,” said Hohmann, mo­ments be­fore the Mary’s Is­lan­ders Dance Troupe per­formed a rou­tine es­pe­cially for Karissa.

“It’s very heart­warm­ing,” Hohmann added. “I’m go­ing to cry – again!”

Karissa’s god­mother, Denise Ste­wart, said the gen­eros­ity of the com­mu­nity has made it pos­si­ble

for Karissa’s sin­gle mother to fo­cus on her daugh­ter dur­ing this dif­fi­cult time with­out fret­ting about money.

“When you see a re­sponse like this, there’s no more worry – no more worry at all,” she said, not­ing that Karissa’s fam­ily sees their lit­tle warrior as a con­stant source of in­spi­ra­tion.

“She’s an amaz­ing young lady who kind of makes us all think about how strong she is, and she keeps us go­ing.”

Karissa’s nanny, Les­lie Stod­dart, is one of her grand­daugh­ter’s big­gest fans.

“Karissa and Shan­non have been su­per, su­per strong since day one when Karissa was di­ag­nosed. She’s had a pos­i­tive out­look the whole time and her mom is her back­bone and her sis­ters – she has two sis­ters,” said Stod­dart.

“Karissa is al­ways smil­ing. She’s awe­some. To see her go through this is very hard but to see her as good as she is pos­i­tive. Keep go­ing, keep be­ing strong and keep smil­ing.”

"4)-&: 5)0.140/

Karissa Bezan­son, sit­ting, has some help hold­ing out the long string of nearly 200 brav­ery beads that rep­re­sent ev­ery med­i­cal pro­ce­dure she’s un­der­gone at the IWK Health Cen­tre in Hal­i­fax since Novem­ber. Pic­tured with Karissa is Jen­nifer Oake, Rachel...

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.