She carries a smile that lights up any room, an infectious laugh that spreads hope and the kind of positive outlook on life that many envy.
She’s beautiful, fit, healthy, successful, a friend who would give you the shirt off her back, a loving wife and step-mom and just celebrated her 39th birthday.
And Suzanne Folliott has cancer.
It’s a surprise that the Vernon woman was alerted to just days ago – and one that no one would ever imagine for this glowing young lady.
She had been suffering from constant migraines and alarmingly low iron levels, therefore multiple blood tests were performed.
“My family doctor had some concerns with some of my results so he referred me to a hematology specialist in Kelowna,” said Folliott, a multimedia marketing specialist at The Morning Star.
That led to a bone marrow biopsy on March 13 to pinpoint exactly what was happening.
“The specialist called me the next day at 5:30 p.m. and told me I had leukemia and had to get to Vernon hospital ASAP for tests and wait for an ambulance to drive me to Vancouver General Hospital where I would be treated,” said Folliott, formerly Beugeling, a Vernon Secondary grad originally from Chilliwack.
Folliott was able to convince doctors to let her take a more comfortable ride with her husband Jake and is now undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
She has moved into the Vancouver General Leukemia Ward, where she will stay for four weeks. And doctors have told her to prepare to stay in the Vancouver area for at least a year for outpatient treatments and follow-up appointments.
“This is the only leukemia ward in the province of B.C., so if you get diagnosed with it no matter where you live in B.C., you come here,” said Folliott, who has acute lymphocytic leukemia (otherwise known as ALL) and is undergoing chemotherapy, including a spinal tap to ensure cancer hasn’t spread to her spinal fluid or brain.
“If the chemo treatment doesn’t work, then they have to do a bone marrow transplant.”
Despite being super overwhelmed, Folliott is managing well with medications, but she is also very sore – an effect of the type of cancer.
She is also participating in a clinical trial, which, if chosen, she may be introduced to a newer drug.
“Same outcome either way – I will be treated of this disease.”
And in true Folliott fashion, her positive outlook shines brighter than the Vancouver sun shining through her window.
“I’m hanging in there, staying positive and taking it one day at a time,” said Folliott, acknowledging a wealth of love and support from family and friends.
Along with her parents, who are by her side as often as they can be from Vernon, Jake is her rock.
“He’s taken a few weeks of holidays but not sure the plan going forward yet. My family has found me a place to stay for when I’m outta here, and if Jake can somehow make it down long term then that is the plan. But, with so much going on it’s hard to think that far.”
To help empower her fight, and assist in the financial burden this will take on the young couple, friends have put together a GoFundMe page in the hopes of raising $20,000. In just four days, the fundraiser collected more than $6,000. Donations can be made online at https://www.gofundme.com/helping-empower-her-inner-fight?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=fb_co_campmgmtbnr_w&fbclid=IwAR1g5QHDQJM2x35_PMzruJwh2JTG47K9VzUgZqw4zDOZf7KcSdQ-NuJmLpw. For those without internet access, donations can also be dropped off at The Morning Star.