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