During the Holiday Season, our family celebrates Christmas. Spending last Christmas in the hospital was heartbreaking for our family. You see, our youngest daughter Ella had been diagnosed with childhood leukemia just a couple weeks earlier. Ella wasn’t able to leave the hospital. This was very hard to explain to her big sister, Marin. She was very worried that Santa wouldn’t be able to find them.
We tried to keep some of our traditions alive – decorating a tree in Ella’s hospital room, and leaving out milk and cookies for Santa and the reindeer.
But there were a lot of traditions that we missed. Going as a family to pick out our Christmas tree. Counting down the days until Santa came. Marin especially loves baking gingerbread people and would have written her first letter to Santa. But none of that was possible.
It obviously wasn’t the Christmas we hoped for. Both my husband and I are from big close-knit families in PEI. It was the first time in years that we hadn’t been able to travel for our family Christmas gatherings. But I think our girls still had fun, despite missing family.
I’m glad to tell you that since then things have improved a lot for our daughter Ella, thanks to research made possible through the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation (DMRF). I’ll tell you more about her journey with leukemia in a moment, but first I want to let you know why I’m sharing this story with you today.
I volunteered to write this letter to you on behalf of the DMRF. You’re probably familiar with their Molly Appeal. Contributions from generous people like you fund life-saving research that helps people right here in the Maritimes. This includes our daughter Ella. And once I’ve told you more about the research they did to help our little girl, I hope you’ll make a donation to support this work today.
When we first met Dr. Jason Berman we were so impressed. He was chairing an international study on kids with childhood leukemia. We agreed to take part in the study – the first ever clinical trial providing tailored treatments to each child. We felt so lucky and so blessed to have Ella as part of the study.
Ella responded well to her first round of chemo. Her more personalized approach worked. Her energy and appetite were pretty good, and she only lost her hair after the last round of chemo.
Ella’s condition has continued to improve and her cancer is in remission today. She still needs to be in the hospital for a few weeks of chemo this year, as a preventative measure. But thankfully, because of the amazing research funded by DMRF donors like you, she has a chance of a complete and permanent cure.
So, with Christmas so close, we hope she’ll be able to spend Christmas at home this year. It’s such a magical time, especially for children who love decorating, baking, and putting up stockings. And of course the presents and parties.
To be able to have Christmas at home with both of our daughters, and family, is the greatest gift of all.
You might not realize it, but you’ve played a big part in making this happen. Donors like you are critically important to the research conducted by Dr. Berman, and the many other amazing doctors and researchers.
We’re truly honoured to be part of this year’s Molly Appeal. The Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation has really been there for us and our daughter. The research, that you helped to fund, has helped our little girl.
So I want to say thank you! You are changing lives. You are having a positive effect on families like ours. And today, I hope you will make a donation to the DMRF to help another family. Any amount you choose to give can make a life-saving difference.
Whatever you celebrate this season, we wish you happiness and joy,
Ella’s grateful mother
P.S. You may be aware that the Molly Appeal is named after Molly Moore. She believed that scientific research would lead to life-saving cures. And she was so right! Thanks to donors like you, there have been many amazing breakthroughs.
P.P.S. This year we’ll start a new family tradition. We will visit other kids in the hospital over Christmas to give them gifts, and brighten their spirits. I hope you’ll join us in this season of giving by making the most generous donation you can to DMRF today. Your gift will help produce the next breakthrough and help more families like ours.