Thanks to a caring community

Family thrilled with the support being received from the Vernon area

Our journey began Feb. 25 this year when our son Caleb was diagnosed with atypical pneumonia.

We stayed for a week in Vernon Jubilee Hospital and were very well cared for by the nursing staff and doctors. We were sent home at the end of the week and here is where we thought our story would end.

Unfortunately, Caleb did not get better. The antibiotics we were sent home with did not finish off the pneumonia. We were back in the ER three times that week. This pneumonia was stumping everyone. We got an early appointment with the respirology team at B.C. Children’s Hospital.

We arrived in Vancouver March 14 and there we received the diagnosis of massive tumor where Caleb’s left lung should be. This is where our story really starts.

The compassion, support, and love that has poured out of Vernon and down to Vancouver has been overwhelming. It began during our first week in Vancouver as we waited on pins and needles, wondering what our diagnosis would be and if Caleb had cancer.

That support continues today.

Caleb received a diagnosis of pleuropulmonary blastoma (PPB), an aggressive form of childhood lung cancer. There are only 300 cases that have been diagnosed in the world to date.

This diagnosis rocked our quiet life and suddenly we were plunged into the world of oncology.

We now have a new vocabulary and are learning more everyday. We have learned about all the names you can have for vomit, that a three-year-old can develop gall stones and that no matter how much you love your child, you can not protect them from cancer. But the best thing we have learned is about the generosity of friends and strangers.

We want to send a thank you out to those individuals who have donated time and money to fundraising efforts for our family. The employees and the families at Epicor (formerly known as Progressive Solutions) and the North Okanagan Childcare Society have our heartfelt thanks. Also, we have heard that there are several businesses that have donated services to assist in fundraising efforts.  We send our thanks.

The support from the Vernon community has been overwhelming and generous. We felt very new to the community, having only relocated here in May 2012. But, now we feel that when we bring Caleb back to Vernon, we will be coming home.

Caleb currently is doing really well.  He is a three-year-old who loves monster trucks, Thomas the Tank Engine and Hot Wheels cars.

He had a pneunomectomy (removal of his left lung) June 12, four days before his third birthday. Except for his bald head and missing eyelashes and eyebrows, you would never know how cancer has ravaged his little body.

It is because of the support of the Vernon community that Jay and I have been able to focus on helping Caleb get better rather than worrying about how we are going to cover expenses for our residence in Vernon and our expenses for our ongoing stay in Vancouver.

We are travelling between Vancouver and Vernon for the next six to nine months as Caleb finishes up his final six rounds of chemo under the excellent care of the oncology nurses and doctors at BCCH, especially Dr. Shelia Pritchard and Dr. Melissa Harvey.

We wanted the Vernon community to know how much we appreciate its support and continued good wishes.

We are looking forward to bringing our little man home for good.

Kristi, Jason and

Caleb Gozjolko