Devon Robinson (l-r), Emma Alcott, Michelle Cristante and Tanya Pedersen at the Barley Mill Brew Pub fundraiser for Alcott’s healthcare costs. The 23-year-old Willowbrook mom is home five weeks early after receiving stem cell treatment and high dose chemotherapy in Vancouver to battler her stage four Hodgkin lymphoma. (Submitted)

South Okanagan mom on the road to recovery following stem cell treatment

Emma Alcott, 23, is home five weeks early after treatment for stage four Hodgkin lymphoma

A South Okanagan woman, who communities have rallied around to help provide financial support during her stem cell and chemotherapy treatment, is leaps and bounds ahead of her doctors’ schedule.

Willowbrook resident Emma Alcott, 23, is home five weeks early following Hodgkin’s lymphoma treatment in Vancouver. She was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma in late 2018, and after six months of chemotherapy in Kelowna failed to shrink the mass in her chest, it was determined she’d need to stay for a period of three months in Vancouver to undergo a stem cell transplant and a high dose of chemotherapy.

“My blood counts came up a lot quicker than they expected them to (after the transplant and chemotherapy). So I was only there for five weeks, which is way better than the 10 weeks I was expecting,” said Alcott. “How it works is they collect your stem cells, then they give you a high dose of chemotherapy for five days, and then they give you your stem cells back right after. It completely wipes out your bone marrow and all of your cells, so it is definitely a lot harder on your system side effect-wise.”

Alcott’s fiancé, Devon Robinson, was able to visit her during this hospital stay but she said their two sons—Daxon, 7, and Kaeson, 3—had to stay behind with other parents. She said she is thankful she is able to spend the next month recovering at home with her family.

READ MORE: South Okanagan mom battling stage four Hodgkin lymphoma

“It’s really nice to be back with the kids and the rest of my family. I got to come back the day before my brother’s wedding. I was a bridesmaid, actually, so I got to be in the ceremony,” said Alcott.

According to Alcott, the doctors in Vancouver said her youth was part of the reason she has rebounded so quickly from treatment.

“They said people who are younger tend to bounce back a lot faster. And then, just the way that my body responds to the growth factor, which they give you so that your body produces more cells,” said Alcott. “Even at my last chemo I had to have some of that and my body just responds really quickly to the shot they give. So they think that’s probably why too.”

Alcott said she can’t begin to thank everyone enough for the support they’ve shown her and her family, noting the various community fundraisers that were held in her benefit and the GoFundMe campaign friends and family started. Shortly after it was determined that she’d need this treatment in Vancouver, Willowbrook residents and the surrounding area rallied to support the young family and their healthcare costs. Alcott was a full-time university student at the time of her diagnosis but was unable to use her student coverage to ease some of the costs as she had to be attending classes for it to be covered. In addition, she did not qualify for E.I. and Robinson had recently been laid off from his job.

READ MORE: Barley Mill Brew Pub adds second event for fundraiser for Willowbrook mother with cancer

“I don’t even know how to thank everybody enough,” said Alcott. “I could never have imagined the support we saw.”

At this time, Alcott said her doctors are “hopeful that I’ll just have to do maintenance chemo for the rest of the year and not radiation,” but noted that this is pending a PET scan she has scheduled in July in Vancouver. She said right now she is focused on not overdoing it at home while she gets her energy back, and said she has to lay low while her immune system recovers from the treatment.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
JordynThomson 
Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Two Kelowna sites rezoned for pot shops

Cannabis retailers closer to reality for Lawrence Avenue, St. Paul Street

Vernon senior feels trapped in long-term care facility

Rose-Marie Lepodvin says she wants assisted living, but feels trapped in long-term care

Kelowna man reflects on break-in, RCMP standoff, at his home

Leroy Kuhn and his wife were out tending to a cousin’s garden while a man broke into their home

Two West Kelowna residents in police custody for drug trafficking

The arrest comes after RCMP executed a search warrant at a Chieftain Road home

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

30 years later: B.C. woman uses sidewalk chalk to reclaim site of her sexual assault

Vancouver woman didn’t think her powerful story, written in chalk, would ignite such support

Car fire sparks grass fire in popular Okanagan park

Vehicle catches fire in Cougar Canyon parking lot; two occupants get out safely

Slain friend motivates rookie football player to make it with hometown B.C. Lions

Jaylen Sandhu, stabbed to death in 2014, a source of inspiration for promising RB Jamel Lyles

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP defends dedication to constituents

LETTER: Mel Arnold says he is open and accessible

Okanagan smash-and-grab nets electric bike

Rock thrown through front door of Southward Medical Supplies, bike grabbed from near door

Home care for B.C.’s elderly is too expensive and falls short: watchdog

Report says seniors must pay $8,800 a year for daily visits under provincial home support program

B.C. ‘struggling’ to meet needs of vulnerable youth in contracted care: auditor

Auditor general says youth in contracted residential services may not be getting support they need

Most Read