Alberta triplets battling eye cancer receive another trio’s support
WATCH ABOVE: Alberta triplets battling rare eye cancer are getting some support from another young trio from Regina. Su-Ling Goh has the update.
EDMONTON – The Alberta parents of triplet boys battling a rare eye cancer say their babies are “troopers” and that the whole experience has “changed their view of the world.”
Thomas, Mason, and Luke – who are now nine months old – were diagnosed with retinoblastoma just three months after they were born.
The Low family has been making trips back and forth to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto for treatment of cancerous eye tumours.
Two of the boys have one prosthetic eye each. Mason has had to have chemotherapy. In total, the triplets have had close to 20 surgeries.
But, on Monday, their mother offered some good news.
“[They’re] quite stable,” said Leslie Low, “just appointments about every six weeks and they’ve had some – not too many new tumours grow – but tumours that have been treated before, acting up again.”
Now, the family has to fly to Toronto every six weeks so doctors can keep a close eye on the boys.
“They’re troopers,” Leslie said with a smile.
“The babies are just getting a little more vocal on the flights, so sorry for anyone who is ever on a flight with us.”
The support the Low family has received – from family, friends and complete strangers – has blown them away.
“It’s incredible,” said Leslie. “It’s really neat to see how many good people there are that want to help and want to support.
“This cancer has been so overwhelming and so hard for us, but it’s also really changed our view on the world,” she added. “So many people are out there who care and understand and want to help.”
Just a few weeks ago, the Lows were contacted by a man in Regina, whose grandson had heard about the triplets and started a bottle drive to raise money for them.
“He just said, ‘hi my grandson’s name is Thomas and his best friends are Mason and Luke.’ He just went on to say how they were really touched by our story and the boys themselves decided they wanted to do something to help.”
“Our names are Mason, Luke, and Thomas. And so are theirs,” said 12-year-old Mason Engele.
He and his friends Thomas Puetz, 11, and Luke Hanson, 12, heard about the other trio from Mason’s mom.
“Doctors think they’ll be fine if they keep up the proper treatment,” explained Luke, “so we’re just trying to help them out, raise some money.”
“We’re really close to each other, us three,” added Mason.
“And they’re brothers, so obviously they’re pretty close too… We wouldn’t want to lose each other.”
The Lows are touched.
“That these boys would reach outside and see the world around them and find a way that they can help us is really, really heartwarming,” said Leslie.
Since their unique health battle went public, the Low family has been flooded with offers of support, even connecting with someone in Toronto who could offer a rental home near the hospital.
“She found out about us through the news, and we were able to set it up short-term,” explained Leslie. “We’re so thankful for it and we’ll use it for the next little while for sure.”
The family has been keeping track of their journey on a blog called Low’s Lowdown.
An online fundraising campaign was also launched, with the goal of raising $30,000 to help the family with travel, medical and other associated costs.
As of Monday, more than $79,000 has been donated.
“It’s really relieved a burden for us at the moment.”
Leslie says charities – like Kids With Cancer – have also been incredibly supportive.
“Whatever money we may not need in the end, I really feel like we can pass on to other families who are going to very similar things.”
“We’re doing well. We’re so thankful for all the support we’ve gotten from everyone. We feel like we’re going to be OK.”