Friends rally support for Cory
The community is coming together to help the family of a young Beairsto Elementary student, who was recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
Grade 2 student Cory Maksymchuk has been diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma, a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma which affects the immune cells. It also causes the fastest growing human tumour.
It was initially thought that the seven year old, who had been suffering from stomach upset, had pneumonia. But after symptoms didn’t improve, a follow-up appointment uncovered the real reason for the illness, said Paula Sorokovsky, a close family friend.
On March 24, Cory was taken by air ambulance to B.C. Children’s Hospital, with his parents Kelly and Terry Maksymchuk, by his side.
“(The family) was told that if it had been another 12 hours, Cory would not be alive,” said Sorokovsky.
Initially put on dialysis as his kidneys had begun to fail, doctors found a fast growing tumour in Cory’s stomach. He was immediately started on intense chemotherapy, including a spinal tap as the cancer can attack the brain and central nervous system.
“They have not found cancer in those areas, but they do it as a preventative,” said Sorokovsky, adding Cory has just completed his second round of treatment.“His hair has started falling out, and so they have given him a buzz cut. There are also sores in his mouth and he is on a feeding tube. Once his stomach is too irritated with the tube, he will be put on an IV.”
With Cory expected to be in hospital to undergo five rounds of treatment, which could take the next four-to-six months with little recovery time in between, the emotional toll on the family is immense.
“Cory is Kelly and Terry’s only child. Their daughter, Sarah, died as an infant before Cory was born,” said Sorokovsky, whose own five children consider Cory as a brother from another mother.
“Cory is so lively and full of energy. He is a not a couch potato and is game for anything. He is so well rounded and gets along with everybody.”
The family is also reeling from the financial burden.
Dad Terry is having to fly back and forth from Vancouver to Vernon for his work as a shop foreman with Dream Easy Kitchens and Bedrooms.
His truck recently broke down, so he currently does not have a work vehicle, added Sorokovsky.
Meanwhile, Kelly is staying at Vancouver’s Ronald McDonald House.
“She can stay there for 30 days for free and after that will need alternate accommodation,” said Sorokovsky.
A number of families have already come together to purchase Cory an IPad so he has something to do in hospital, said Sorokovsky.
In addition, Beairsto is planning to give all of the proceeds from its year-end barbecue to the family. A bottle drive is also being held through Chasers Bottle Depot, where people can take their sorted bottles and cans.
“Some of the moms are getting together to make frozen meals for Terry while he is working and we are collecting donations of Air Miles for flights to Vancouver,” said Sorokovsky. “We would also like to do a community garage sale and a few other fundraisers such as a dance.”
Donations to the Maksymchuk family can be made at any Vernon TD Canada Trust branch (transit# 98860, inst# 004, account# 6100954.)
A Facebook page, Caring for Cory, has also been set up.
For more information on how to help the family, contact Sorokovsky at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 778-475-4568.