Cole was always an active, happy and healthy little boy so when he woke up that fateful morning on New Year’s Eve 2016 and couldn’t get himself out of bed, I wasn’t too worried. He’d been running around and playing with his sister Chloe the day before with no signs of illness so I assumed he’d pulled a muscle or pinched a nerve … looking back I think I was in denial. Cole continued to be in pain and had difficulty moving so we took him to Smithers Hospital where he was admitted to the ER.
The hospital immediately airlifted Cole to Vancouver where he was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a very rare cancerous tumour that grows in bones or the soft tissue around bones such as cartilage and nerves. If that weren’t already devastating enough, we were shocked to learn that the cancer had spread from his ribs to his spine. We were also told that the tumour was pressing against his heart and his lungs as well as the nerves in his spine causing loss of motor function below his chest in the bilateral lower extremities.
Cole then received a long course of chemotherapy followed by radiation in Vancouver. We were so grateful that he responded well to this treatment and that the cancer was eradicated however Cole was left partially paralyzed with little sensation in his lower body.
With the tumour gone, Cole’s doctor told us that physical therapy using an RT300 FES Leg Cycle was crucial to his recovery. The cycle combines electrical stimulation with a motorized ergometer that allows repetitive cycling activity as part of a rehabilitation program for children with spinal cord injuries. With Cole needing therapy six days a week, we didn’t know how we were going to pay for this expensive piece of equipment necessary for his recovery.
That’s where Variety stepped in and helped fund a cycle for Cole to use. Since he’s been doing rehab, his pain has subsided and he now has enough movement in his core and his legs to be able to use a walker to get around. While it’s a lengthy recovery for Cole, he’s returned to school and is once again turning back into the happy kid he was before his illness.
Without the help of Variety and the cycle, Cole would not be where he is today. As you can well imagine, his illness was a traumatic experience for our entire family and we are all deeply grateful to Variety for helping. Cole – who just turned ten in August – continues to get stronger every day. With all our hearts, we thank Variety and their generous supporters for making that possible. Cole couldn’t have done it without your help. Thank you!— Leah, Cole’s Mom