Young St. Albert girl back home, in remission, after bone-marrow transplant
Published Tuesday, January 29, 2013 5:19PM MST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 29, 2013 6:29PM MST
A young St. Albert girl who was battling cancer is now home, recovering, after a life-saving bone-marrow transplant.
Six-year-old Halle Popowich was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia last summer.
“The first day when they tell you about the diagnosis, that’s got to be the hardest,” said Halle’s father Kurt.
“As parents, you want to protect your child from everything and with this diagnosis, with leukemia, there's nothing you can do.”
The diagnosis sent the family into a tailspin. The young girl had undergone several rounds of radiation and chemotherapy in her fight against cancer.
Last summer, Halle’s parents went public with a plea for a bone marrow match. The plea prompted an overwhelming response of donors and Halle is now in remission, after receiving a bone-marrow transplant in November.
“She’s happy to know that she’s home. Her prayer at night has changed from ‘I pray my leukemia will be cured’ to ‘I pray my leukemia won't come back,’” said Halle’s mother Deana Popowich.
“What we know right now is that she has no leukemia cells.”
The transplant eradicated the leukemia cells in Halle’s body and now after months of uncertainty and countless medical appointments, with long stays in Calgary, Halle is out of the hospital and in remission.
She says the best thing about being home is “everything.”
Her brother Chase says he’s excited to be able to play with his sister after school again and the whole family is looking forward to the future.
“If she's cancer free in two years, it's a huge milestone. It is cause to celebrate. We are looking forward to that day,” Kurt said.
“We just hope that she continues to stay health and that’s a great feeling to know that she’s completed her treatment and now it’s just a matter of getting life back to normal and we’re excited about that.”
Currently, infection is the family’s biggest worry.
In the coming weeks, Halle will be able to leave her home but for now, she’s enjoying every moment with her family.
“She has lots of energy, she skips around the house,” said Deana.
“She lives in the moment which is great. I don’t feel that she’s worrying about what’s happening next,” Kurt said.
Halle’s next check-up is in February.
Her medication is also expected to be reduced over time.
And while her parents say the past year has been extremely hard, there were some positive moments.
“I feel that even though it’s been a long and difficult journey, there have been so many good things to come of it,” Deana said.
“Awareness was wonderful for bone marrow donation and leukemia, (the) Leukemia Society… Halle’s had a lot of neat experiences.”
With files from Serena Mah