Red Deer grandparents are thankful for the support from friends and strangers as they wait for their young granddaughter’s bone marrow transplant to fight a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
Lorraine Pasemko said blood transfusions for her 17-month-old granddaughter Alice aren’t helping her as much anymore. Alice’s three-year-old brother Anthony, who was not the best match, will be her bone marrow donor because a match could not be found with 10 million donors in the world-wide donor bank.
“They have resorted to going back to Anthony. That’s all they have left to try,” Pasemko said.
Alice is scheduled to start chemotherapy soon and the transplant is scheduled for Nov. 6, she said.
Alice is being treated at B.C. Children’s Hospital after she was airlifted Sept. 6 with a worsening fever from a hospital in Salmon Arm, B.C. where her family lives.
At the Vancouver hospital Alice was soon diagnosed with one of the cancers known as myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) that is not normally seen in children.
Pasemko, a retired educational assistant with Eastview Middle School, said her former co-workers considered bone marrow tests when they found out about Alice, but discovered donors could not be older than 35 and male donors were preferred.
Now she understands why it’s so important for young adults to donate or be tested to address the need.
“The kids that I’ve seen at the hospital waiting for bone marrow, it’s just amazing. You don’t recognize it until it’s your family.”
She said the support her family has received in Red Deer has been amazing. Former co-workers collected $1,000 to help with housing, travel and Alice’s medical expenses. Another couple she didn’t even know wanted to say prayers for Alice and handed Pasemko $600.
“It’s just overwhelming, the phone calls, the notes, the texts. You just feel really great that people are still supportive and believe in helping. It’s humbling.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up — Help fight for baby Alice. Donations can also be Interac e-transferred to Lorraine and Larry Pasemko at firstname.lastname@example.org.