Fight­ing on

Di­ag­no­sis shrinks Knutsford fam­ily’s sum­mer; ag­gres­sive can­cer treat­ment for 12-year-old son re­sumes

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY ERIC MCCARTHY +063/"- 1*0/&&3 FSJD NDDBSUIZ!KPVSOBMQJPOFFS DPN

The Sweet fam­ily from Knutsford has been pack­ing a lot of sum­mer into the past two weeks.

The fam­ily — Tracy, Cory, Jami­son and Messina — has had to be­cause 12-year-old Jami­son’s bat­tle with a rare form of can­cer gets very real again very soon.

Jami­son, along with his par­ents and his aunt, Amanda Smallman, are back to Hal­i­fax’s IWK Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal to re­sume his fight against syn­ovial sar­coma, a can­cer that at­tacks soft tis­sues.

From what Cory and Tracy un­der­stand, Jami­son is one of only five or six pa­tients in North Amer­ica who cur­rently have that par­tic­u­lar form of can­cer.

“It was kind of, ‘boom,’ and it was there,” said Jamieson’s mom in de­scrib­ing the can­cer’s sud­den hold on her son.

She had no­ticed a lump on his shoul­der in Jan­uary or Fe­bru­ary. They con­sulted a doc­tor in March when they de­ter­mined the lump was not go­ing away. Biop­sies and scans fol­lowed and the fright­en­ing di­ag­no­sis was made on June 23.

He has re­mained strong and pain-free.

Jamieson had his first round of che­mother­apy July 6-8 and en­dured some chemo-re­lated sick­ness but has bounced back, re­turn­ing to nor­mal ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing help­ing his un­cle and his grand­fa­ther with their race horses.

“Right now, it’s not both­er­ing me at all,” he shrugs.

He ad­mits, though, the whole or­deal re­mains a bit con­fus­ing.

But the whole fam­ily ac­knowl­edges the ag­gres­sive treat­ment that’s still to come will be ac­com­pa­nied by dis­com­fort.

“I’m look­ing at this as, ‘Stay pos­i­tive. Pos­i­tive vibes and keep him happy as much as pos­si­ble.’ We know he’s go­ing to get sick, but if we stay strong, it will help

him stay

Jami­son ad­mits he’s count­ing on their strength.

He was re­cently granted a wish through the Chil­dren’s Wish Foun­da­tion, a camper trailer out­fit­ted to his spec­i­fi­ca­tions,

strong,” Mom com­mented.

which he and his fam­ily have been tak­ing ad­van­tage of be­tween chemo treat­ments.

They’ve been to Mill River and Camp­bell’s Shore.

“Sum­mer is when you do all the stuff and we’re try­ing to get it done in two weeks,” Tracy points out. “It’s not easy to do.”

The fam­ily has also gath­ered strength through com­mu­nity and school sup­port. Both O’Leary Ele­men­tary, from where Jami­son grad­u­ated last month, and Hernewood In­ter­me­di­ate, where he will en­ter Grade 7 af­ter com­plet­ing ra­di­a­tion treat­ments, have pro­vided the fam­ily with fi­nan­cial and moral sup­port.

A friend held a fundrais­ing fun run for them, and a ben­e­fit night drew a packed hall and tremen­dous fi­nan­cial sup­port.

Re­cently, Rick and Heather Blouin held a fam­ily fun day in sup­port of the Sweets at their Grand River ranch.

Mem­bers of the O’Leary Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment also dropped in with a group pic­ture and a mes­sage of sup­port. In ad­di­tion, the Com­mu­nity Sports Cen­tre’s mar­que has spread some of those pos­i­tive vibes that the fam­ily seeks.

Rel­a­tives and friends have of­fered to take care of lit­tle sis­ter Messina, 10, while the rest of the fam­ily is in Hal­i­fax.

Jami­son will need to be in Hal­i­fax for che­mother­apy treat­ments ev­ery three weeks un­til De­cem­ber and, next week also marks the start of seven weeks of ra­di­a­tion treat­ment, 36 treat­ments in all. From then un­til Sept. 20 Jami­son, Mom, Dad and Aunt Amanda will be home only on week­ends.

They’re tak­ing Jami­son’s XBox with them to help pass the time. Cell­phones and Face­book will also help, Mom ac­knowl­edged. The fam­ily has se­cured ac­com­mo­da­tions at Ron­ald McDon­ald House, and fam­ily mem­bers will take turns stay­ing with Jami­son at the hospi­tal.

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Mem­bers of the Sweet fam­ily, Messina left, Tracy, Jami­son, Cory and their dog, Jer­sey, pose in front of the camper 12-year-old Jami­son re­ceived as a Chil­dren’s Wish Foun­da­tion wish. He’s fight­ing a rare form of can­cer that at­tacks soft tis­sue.

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