Abigail Stewart was four years old when a bump on her head turned out to be a tumor. The growth was caused by Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH), a disorder that leads to an over production of Langerhans cells.
“It’s where your white blood cells go against you, mutate and attack the body and leave tumors in your bones and your organs,” Abigail explains the condition in a casual tone. She’s been talking a lot about her diagnosis lately to help raise money for the Children’s Hospital, a place she credits for saving her life.
Abigail had multiple surgeries, chemotherapy treatments, numerous MRIs, blood work and Xrays.
Her mother Ashley remembers the moment the seriousness of Abigail’s situation struck her.
“It wasn’t until she had her first chemo treatment that I realized we were in for the long haul,” Ashley said.
Abigail is now 12 years old and in remission but her fight isn’t over. She wears a brace on her leg to help with nerve damage. And she takes medication daily to control the pain so she can walk.
“We live day by day with Abby,” Ashley said.
“When your child is diagnosed and you’re devastated you really get a new grasp on life. You just enjoy the time you have with your kids.”
Earlier this month Abigail and her family organized a massive bake sale in support of Children’s Hospital. The goal was to raise $5,000 but they’ve already surpassed that total and hope to hand over a $10,000 donation to the hospital.
“It’s not just my daughter that got sick, it’s so many other children. It’s not just cancer it’s all the other diseases that are out there,” Ashley said.
Abigail and her mother are sharing their story to help raise awareness for the Tri Hospital Dream Lottery, which is a major fundraiser for three of Winnipeg’s largest hospitals, the Children’s Hospital, Health Sciences Centre and St. Boniface Hospital.