Kananaskis has truly been healing for 10-year-old Auralia Reid. Her parents, Ryan Reid and Trinda Hassel, bring their daughter out on hikes every chance they get, knowing the Alberta Rockies are nature’s medicine.
“Nature is our church. We don’t go to church. This is our church, where we find peace,” Hassel said.
It’s the quiet that lures the family there — but it’s Auralia’s courage that’s moving mountains. She was diagnosed with leukemia nearly three years ago.
“I felt hollow, like my whole world shattered. In that moment I was like, you got to save my baby,” Hassel said.
Auralia’s father Ryan said it was the scariest time in his life.
“It was heartbreaking, like a nightmare,” Ryan said. “That was my seven-year-old daughter in that bed and that diagnosis, I don’t have words.”
But they stayed positive encouraging their daughter.
“We never talked about, ‘you’re sick.’ We talked about, ‘you’re healing,'” Hassel said.
Through it all, Auralia always longed for the mountains, especially during her treatment.
“It’s peaceful, regenerating and healing,” Auralia said.
Even while she was undergoing chemotherapy every day for 912 days, she still conquered summits.
“Dad would carry me if I wasn’t able to do what I wanted to do — he would pick me up and put me on his shoulders,” Auralia said.
“She’s powered through a lot. She’s a tough girl, she’s inspiring,” Ryan said.
“I’ve told her she’s my hero.”
“She has taught me strength comes from within,” Hassel said.
The little girl is now in remission and her hikes have a much bigger purpose, she wants to reach the top of Wasootch Ridge in Kananaskis by the end of July or early August.
“It’s a big hike. It’ll be the biggest one ever,” Ryan said. “It’s going to be motivating for her to know she gave back.”
“For Camp Kindle and peer support group. It’s a group where kids with cancer can be just kids and not the kid with cancer,” Auralia said.
“She’s unbelievable. We try to let her know she is but I don’t think she gets it,” Ryan said.
“I am so proud of her, so proud, she is a champ,” Hassel said.