Lilia Wiebe and her mom Kaitlyn Wiebe from Salmon Arm are heading back to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver shortly where Lilia will undergo a further two months’ treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Young Shuswap girl heads into tough phase of leukemia battle

Treatment for two-year-old from Salmon Arm has been going well, expenses a challenge for family

Lilia Wiebe, who turns three in January, is heading to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver this week for phase four of her treatment. She is being treated for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, or ALL.

“She’s a trooper,” says her mom Kaitlyn Wiebe. “When she first got diagnosed, she couldn’t even walk… It was two months before she started walking again.”

Cindy Reimer – Kaitlyn’s mom and Lilia’s grandma – explains how much better Lilia is now than when she was diagnosed at the end of May.

“She told her mommy she can jump now because her feet aren’t sore. She runs as much as possible now.”

To emphasize the point, Lilia grins and begins to scramble down from her chair to demonstrate.

Kaitlyn says they will be going down to the hospital for a full two months this time.

“It’s more intense treatment this next phase than she’s had before.”

At the beginning they were there for two months, then back and forth every 10 days for another two months. They found they couldn’t go down and drive right back, however – it was too tiring for Lilia.

“There was a lot of travelling time but also a lot of home time,” says Kaitlyn.

After this two-month stint, they’ll be back and forth every 10 days again.

Then it will be a year-and-a-half of once-a-month trips to the hospital. Some of those might be able to be done in Kelowna.

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Kaitlyn says Lilia is doing very well, with no setbacks and no complications from the chemotherapy.

“Hopefully that keeps on. The next phase is a little more scary. Typically they see a little more reactions and complications.”

She says it may require a lot of blood transfusions.

Kaitlyn was working at Salmon Arm’s Shuswap Pie Company but no longer can. She says the owners and staff have been amazing, raising money. In September, coffee proceeds went to the family and the restaurant has been selling bracelets to benefit Lilia. Although they’ve run out of bracelets, they’re still accepting donations.

A GoFundMe account was also set up and is still in operation. It can be found under ‘Supporting Lilia Wiebe’s Journey.’

For updates on her progress, there is also a website called Caring Bridge. Just search ‘Lilia Wiebe.’

Eric Wiebe, Kaitlyn’s spouse, works for Pleasant Valley Construction but has had to take time off to be with Lilia. Kaitlyn says his employer has also been very understanding.

With the reduction in income and jump in expenses, finances have been tough.

While they have stayed in Ronald McDonald House, the trips to the Coast have been expensive. They might have to consider flying once winter sets in and they’re going back and forth again.

Both Cindy and Kaitlyn express their appreciation for everyone’s support.

“A huge thank you,” smiles Kaitlyn, as Cindy remarks: “Thank you for the support from the community – Salmon Arm has been great.”

@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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