The tender age of 3.5 years marked a grave milestone in the life of Alyssa Drouillard’s daughter, as she was diagnosed with an uncommon form of childhood cancer known as Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH).
Amidst the profound shock, Drouillard described her child as their “miracle girl” at the inauguration of Heroes for Histio, held in Malden Park on Saturday. She recounted the harrowing time post-diagnosis where a span of five weeks saw them oscillate between a biopsy and an oncology appointment. Subsequently, they discovered her tumor, which had been situated in her spine, had quite astonishingly disappeared.
The insidious nature of LCH, known to afflict the skin and bones, presented Drouillard with a dearth of information. The initial diagnosis left the family grappling in the dark. She shared, “We were sent home. They explained, ‘She’s stable.’ But, ironically, within a couple of hours, a fortuitous phone call from a proactive physician changed everything. He had scrutinized her scans and had an inkling about what it could be. We were urged to return right away. Luck was on our side, as someone had thought to review her case and said this wasn’t simply a broken spine. It was cancer.”
Subsequently, Harper, Drouillard’s daughter, receives routine check-ups to monitor her condition. To address the battle against this obscure beast, her parents initiated Heroes for Histio. Their mission? To fundraise for the Histiocytosis Association of Canada and the Fight Like Mason Foundation, organizations that had provided their daughter steadfast support in her fight.
Simultaneously, they aim to shed more light on this rare form of childhood cancer. Drouillard lamented, “In Canada, only about five per cent of cancer research funding is geared towards childhood cancers. And shockingly, none of it is committed to research on LCH. We champion the drive for a cure not just for our daughter, but for all children faced with this ordeal.” Through their ordeal, the family hopes to cast more light on this underfunded battleground, in the hope of finding a cure and providing a beacon of hope to others facing a similar journey.