Fam­ily back home help­ing baby beat can­cer

Loads of sup­port for baby with rare brain can­cer

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY MELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

Liam Wrice isn’t even one yet, but he’s al­ready fac­ing a tough bat­tle. The young boy has a rare form of brain can­cer is now un­der­go­ing treat­ment in Alberta. The boy’s fa­ther is from Car­bon­ear, and fam­ily back home are ral­ly­ing to sup­port the Wrices.

Liam Wrice was a typ­i­cal 10month-old boy who en­joyed play­ing and laugh­ing.

But just last month, Liam was di­ag­nosed with Atyp­i­cal Ter­a­toid Rhab­doid Tu­mour, a rare and ag­gres­sive form of brain can­cer.

Liam had a large tu­mour re­moved from his head that filled a quar­ter of his cra­nial cav­ity (in­side his skull where the brain is lo­cated). He will need at least nine to 12 months of ag­gres­sive chemo­ther­apy and treat­ment. A stem cell ex­trac­tion will also have to be done in Calgary.

There weren’t many signs to in­di­cate can­cer or ill­ness at all. It was a twitch in his mouth that led to the ini­tial di­ag­no­sis. But as soon as the can­cer was found, he was im­me­di­ately booked for surgery at Stollery Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal in Ed­mon­ton, Alta.

Liam’s par­ents, Jerry Wrice, a na­tive of Car­bon­ear, and Natasha Hewlin, orig­i­nally from Cow Head, have had to change their life to en­sure their youngest son gets the treat­ment he needs. The fam­ily, which also con­sists of older son Ryler, live in Fort McMur­ray. Both still have fam­ily and friends in New­found­land and Labrador.

“They have to up­root their en­tire life,” said Liam’s aunt, Tammy Write Paetkau, who lives in Car­bon­ear.

So far, Liam has had the surgery to re­move the tu­mour and has had a stent in­serted into his head to drain fluid.

“The pos­i­tive in this is the amount he has bounced back, even af­ter his stent surgery,” cousin Holly Sul­li­van ex­plained. “He’s still smil­ing.”

Fundrais­ing

As soon as Liam was di­ag­nosed, Tammy said there was an over­whelm­ing show of sup­port from peo­ple all over Canada. This is when ideas for fundrais­ers started com­ing in.

One of the fundrais­ers took place last week with the help of Laura-Lee His­cock, who is also a cousin to the Wrice fam­ily. She is also the in­struc­tor for the Keyin Col­lege dog-groom­ing pro­gram.

Af­ter get­ting ver­i­fi­ca­tion from the school, the stu­dents and Laura-Lee held a groom­ing fundraiser. The $500 made from dog groom­ing ap­point­ments will go to Liam and his fam­ily.

Hun­dreds of dol­lars in qual­ity items were do­nated to an on­line auc­tion, which ended on Satur­day, from in­di­vid­u­als and lo­cal busi­nesses. And those bid­ding on the items went well above face value, and even of­fered to pay ship­ping to other prov­inces if they won the item. They sur­passed their fundrais­ing goal of $1,000.

Out in Alberta

Dad Jerry and mom Natasha are tak­ing things a day at a time in Alberta.

But so far there has been an out­pour­ing of sup­port there as well. Some 900 cold plates were sold at a re­cent fundraiser or­ga­nized by the fam­ily.

“Natasha and my­self are over­whelmed with the love, prayers, mes­sages, and sup­port from one end of this coun­try to the other,” Jerry told The Com­pass through an ex­change on so­cial me­dia from Alberta. “It is ab­so­lutely in­cred­i­ble how amaz­ing peo­ple are.”

It’s not an easy jour­ney for any­one in the fam­ily, es­pe­cially Liam’s par­ents. But they are do­ing their best to get over this hur­dle.

“Though, this is some­thing we would have never thought of hap­pen­ing to our baby boy in a mil­lion years, it did,” Jerry con­tin­ued. “And, it is that love, sup­port, and prayer that is go­ing to help him fight and win this bat­tle. There are not enough words to truly ex­press how thank­ful and grate­ful we are for all ev­ery­one has done.”

Tammy, Holly and Laura-Lee also send out sin­cere thank yous to ev­ery­one that has helped with the fundrais­ers and do­nated money.

“We’re really feel­ing the love,” Holly ex­claimed.

The fam­ily has started trend­ing #Li­amStrong on dif­fer­ent so­cial me­dia sites, in­clud­ing Face­book, Twit­ter and In­sta­gram.

Jerry, Natasha and oth­ers are us­ing it to help keep peo­ple up­dated, but it is also be­ing used to share mes­sages of hope, love and prayer to the fam­ily.

If any­one would like to con­tact the Wrice fam­ily, email tammy@tew­stu­dio.com.

It is ab­so­lutely in­cred­i­ble how amaz­ing peo­ple are. Jerry Wrice

PHOTO BY MELISSA JENK­INS/THE COM­PASS

The Keyin Col­lege dog groom­ing class and other vol­un­teers have been help­ing fundraise for Liam Wrice, who is fight­ing a rare form of brain can­cer. Those that par­tic­i­pated are stu­dents Tammy Bishop, Kayla White, Bri Avery, Richard Roberts, Court­ney Clarke, Melissa O’Keefe, Ken­dra Kent, Kelly Lyall and Me­lanie O’Keefe, or­ga­niz­ers Laura-Lee His­cock, Holly Sul­li­van and Tammy Wrice Paetkau. The chil­dren that helped out with the dogs were Ne­vaeh, Mada­lyn, Sophia and Seren­ity, while the dogs in the photo are Jessie, the class mas­cot, Shady, Pearl and Snug­gles.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Liam Wrice is a 10-month-old liv­ing in Fort McMur­ray re­cently di­ag­nosed with Atyp­i­cal Ter­a­toid Rhab­doid Tu­mour, an ag­gres­sive form of brain can­cer.

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