Friends rally for North Okanagan toddler with leukemia

GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $19,000 for Finnley Stanley; dance planned for September

The fact their son Finnley was showing signs of consistent fevers for two weeks prompted Armstrong’s Jordan and Jennell Stanley to take their two-and-a-half year old son to the emergency department on July 1, Canada Day.

The results shattered the Stanley’s world.

Finnley’s blood test results showed a platelet count of six – a healthy platelet count in a child Finnley’s age should be 140-150 – and exhibiting leukemic blast cells, so he and his mom were airlifted first priority to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. Platelets allow blood to clot, and had the fun-loving, adventurous almost three-year-old fallen, got cut or had a bleeding nose, the bleeding would be difficult to control. Finnley could have experienced life-threatening blood loss.

Along with the low platelet count, Finnley’s presenting haemoglobin (protein found in the red blood cells that carries oxygen in the body and gives blood its red colour) was 71 – regular count would be 140-170. A low haemoglobin makes the heart work harder.

Finnley was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia – ALL. It’s a cancer of the bone marrow and blood that progresses rapidly without treatment and does not have a clear cause.

Leukemia begins in a white blood cell in bone marrow. The white blood cell undergoes a change and becomes a type of leukemia cell called a blast cell. All normal blood cells die off, however leukemia blast cells do not. They multiply at an excessive rate but remain immature and non-functioning. These non-functioning leukemic blast cells block the production of normal cells. As the number of healthy blood cells decrease, the symptoms of leukemia begin to show.

READ MORE: Two-year-old Shuswap girl fighting Leukemia

Finnley and his family spent two weeks at Children’s Hospital and are now staying at Ronald McDonald House. Finnley undergoes regular chemotherapy treatment as well as blood transfusions, as the chemotherapy drugs kill off blast cells but also take good blood cells with it.

Blood transfusions put red blood cells and platelets back up to normal numbers, bringing back the little boy his family and friends know and love allowing him to fight the disease.

There is no determined length of time that Finnley and his family will be spending at BC Children’s Hospital. Jordan, Jennell and Finnley’s sister Mayelle (five) have dropped everything to be there with Finnley every step of the way.

Friends, family and the community are rallying behind Finnley and his family.

There is a GoFundMe page, created by Caylin Glazier – We Got You Finn : To date, slightly more than $19,000 has been raised toward a goal of $20,000.

A group of local friends and family members are hosting Rock the Ridge for Finnley on Sunday, Sept. 8, between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.Tickets for this event are $40 for adults, and $10 for children aged six and over. Tickets will get you entry into the afternoon dance and auction as well as a burger and beer, or other beverage.

“The community has been amazing in helping us arrange this fundraiser for the family,” said family friend Jen McDonald. “Cedar Ridge Guest Ranch (Deep Creek Road, Enderby) has donated the venue and the local band The Dirt Road Kings will be playing and have generously donated their time and energy to do so. There has been a great amount of silent auction items coming in. Our goal is that we can turn 100 per cent of the proceeds from the event over to the Stanley family.”

Tickets are required and must be purchased in advance by e-mail to Tickets are selling quickly.

The Stanleys also encourage donating to the BC Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House and blood donations are strongly encouraged at Canadian Blood Services, as without blood, this illness would not be treatable.

READ MORE: Community comes through for Okanagan woman fighting leukemia

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