Family Turn Scary Cancer Diagnosis Into Lifesaving Mission


When Alyssa Drouillard’s child was just 3.5 years old, they received a harrowing diagnosis – Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH). This rare, daunting form of childhood cancer seemed to create an insurmountable challenge for the Drouillard family.

Remembering the unfolding struggle, Drouillard recounts the moment her daughter became their ‘miracle girl.’ It was during the initiation of Heroes for Histio at Malden Park Saturday when she remembered, “It took merely five weeks from the biopsy to the oncology appointment. To our surprise, upon contact with her, her tumour had miraculously vanished. Initially present in her spine, within those five weeks, it simply eradicated.”

As Drouillard delved deeper into understanding LCH – a disease that inflicts mostly the skin and bones, she discovered a concerning lack of readily available information. The memory of being sent back home post-diagnosis with the assurance that her daughter was ‘stable’ triggered a sense of frustration. Within two hours, they were urgently recalled. A painstaking review of their daughter’s scans by a perceptive physician revealed the chilling truth – “We were fortunate that a doctor had taken interest in her case. It wasn’t merely a damaged spine. This was indeed, cancer.”

The journey of battling cancer was far from over for young Harper, who continues to undergo periodic monitoring. In response to this ordeal, her parents found a ray of hope and resilience. They established Heroes for Histio, a platform designed to fundraise for the Histiocytosis Association of Canada and the Fight Like Mason Foundation, which had played a significant part in keeping their daughter’s spirits high.

The Drouillard family’s goals, however, extend beyond their immediate circumstances. Raising awareness for this seldom-discussed childhood cancer has become a vital part of their mission. Bemoaning the stark reality, Drouillard said, “In Canada, a mere five per cent of cancer research funding is dedicated to childhood cancers, and none whatsoever towards LCH. Our battle will end when a cure is found not just for our daughter, but for every child faced with the daunting diagnosis of LCH.”


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