Your gift gives hope to Mandy & Mike. Hope for a cure one day for Drea’s complex cancer

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Our names are Mike and Mandy and our six-year-old daughter Drea has brain cancer.

Our world changed instantly earlier this year when we received the devastating news of Drea’s cancer.

We wondered … was our youngest child going to live?

In the months since her life-altering diagnosis, we have come to appreciate how the generosity of donors is giving Drea and our family of five more time together. Our fear for her well-being never leaves our minds, but because of the selflessness of donors like you, we have hope.

We now understand how your kind-hearted support has helped bring the best doctors to CancerCare Manitoba to care for her. However, we need you to continue giving because it’s highly likely Drea’s cancer may come back.

We hope Drea’s story inspires you to rally behind her.

Drea is a unique little girl. One moment she’s a colourful “girly-girl” and the next she’s mimicking her favourite wrestling stars with her older siblings.

Last December we noticed physical changes in Drea. They were subtle flu-like symptoms at first. Then they intensified. She started walking with her head tilted to one side. Eventually we had to carry her everywhere in our house.

A CT scan in mid-January revealed the unthinkable. Drea had a brain tumour.

How do you explain to your young child she’s going to need major brain surgery?

How do you act normal in front of her? Every time we looked at her we burst into tears. Can you imagine if this was your child or grandchild and you were told doctors worldwide don’t yet know the best treatment? Drea’s cancer is that complex.

The surgeons were able to get the entire tumour but this wasn’t the end of her journey. Drea has a long, grueling treatment plan ahead of her. One laced with uncertainty.

Her CancerCare Manitoba oncologist hopes she will tolerate the maintenance chemotherapy she will be on for one to two years. The odds of this happening are precarious though.

While there has been progress, the need for your continued support of research is great. We hope you will consider becoming a monthly donor as all funds donated support research. Research which will hopefully lead to a cure one day for Drea.

Nobody ever wants their kids to miss out on anything, never mind life.

A six-year-old shouldn’t have anxiety yet Drea has it every single day. The physical and mental changes she’s gone through are huge.

Thanks to the support of donors like you, our days are getting a little brighter. We are starting to get longer stints of our “old” Drea. But we’re not sure she will ever be the Drea she was before her cancer.

Looking ahead is not easy. It’s plagued with unknowns. As her mom, I feel helpless. I’d like to go to bed not being terrified she’s going to relapse. If Drea’s cancer does come back, I need to know there will be more knowledge and answers to cure her. For this to happen, we need your help. Your gift may be the difference CancerCare Manitoba’s researchers need to better understand and treat Drea’s unique cancer.

As a dad, I want to protect my family.

Drea’s illness rocked me to my core. Like Mandy, I worry terribly what the future holds for her. My way of coping though is to set little goals. Her next MRI is in early December. I’m focused on that and getting another clear scan.

Then there’s Christmas and New Year’s. I just want our family to enjoy these special times together. But if you ask me about the long-term, I can’t tell you I think about university or her getting married. I can’t even tell you what January holds for Drea.

What we do know is your support and compassion will be a bright light for our family this holiday season. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for caring and giving. There are truly no words to express the gratitude we feel for you.

*A special thanks to the Gauthier Automotive Group for matching up to $25,000 in gifts this year.