Hannah & CandaceBritish Columbia
Imagine that you are a mother of 4 beautiful girls, all under the age of 5 and your eldest Hannah complains of a bloated abdomen. You don’t really think anything of it until 2 days later you notice a ‘rather large mass’ just under her rib cage. What should have been a simple trip to the Emergency in Prince George Hospital turns into mom and daughter being whisked away by Air Ambulance to Vancouver. After a number of tests your worst fear comes to reality with a diagnosis of Stage 4 Wilm’s Tumor with metastases to the lungs and suspicious on the liver – Cancer. This is just the beginning of a long journey for Hannah and her mom Candace.
As first timers to Vancouver with no family around locally for support, no idea of how to use transit, or even where to buy groceries; Candace quickly hears about a place called Easter Seals House. Little did Candace and Hannah know how well they would get to know this place. Outside of the house, you are welcomed by a group of colourful animal sculptures; there are bears, orcas and eagles. Enter the House and you are warmly welcomed at the front desk by the friendly staff. On your walk to your room, you pass by a playroom, living room and kitchen. You peek in and notice families hanging out in the living room and kitchen who provide you with a welcoming smile. You enter your room which includes a kitchenette, private bathroom and two beds. As Hannah’s life centres around chemo therapy, radiation and surgery, she and her mom start to receive support from other families staying at the Easter Seals House. They become friends with the staff, and Hannah becomes well known as the little girl in ‘pink’ with the great big toothless grin.
Now flash forward to five months later. Hannah and Candace still refer to Easter Seals House as home. They are the ones in the playroom, living room and kitchen giving new families a welcoming smile. They are the ones who are telling new comers how to get around the city on transit, where to shop and that it’s going to be okay. The journey hasn’t ended yet; they will continue to call Easter Seals House home for at least another three months. Hannah will have spent a total of eight months at Easter Seals House.