Greater Trail community rallies behind child fighting cancer

Donations and upcoming fundraising events help Candace Kotyk's family deal with hardship

The Greater Trail community is rallying behind a five-year-old girl whose life took an unexpected turn when she was diagnosed with cancer last month.

Trail parents Jeremy Brace and Amy Kotyk are in disbelief with the community’s response to an ongoing fundraising initiative for their daughter Cadance.

The family is in Vancouver after finding out in late November that Cadance has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, cancer of the white blood cells. She is receiving chemotherapy at BC Children’s Hospital and, as of now, is set to stay in Vancouver until the spring.

“Everything that is being done back home is allowing Amy, Cadance and I to have a home to come back to,” said Brace. “The beauty of watching my daughter fight for her life, before she has even had a chance to live, and doing it with a smile on her face.”

Cadance had her third treatment on Dec. 10, which was Day 15 of her induction period to chemotherapy.

The goal of this period is to achieve remission, which means that leukemia cells are no longer found in bone marrow samples, the normal marrow cells return, and the blood counts become normal.

During this time, she takes a number of drugs – including L-asparaginase, vincristine and dexamethasone – which can take a toll on a patient. Cadance has already received two lumbar punctures and one biopsy to see how the treatment is progressing.

This phase ends Dec. 24 and by then the family should know whether Cadance’s cancer is low standard or high risk.

“Low risk would be the best Christmas present I’ve ever received,” said Brace.

He has watched his little girl mature far beyond her years in a short time while she faces a reality that can’t be hidden in the children’s hospital. Cadance continues to stay strong, positive and amaze her parents each day.

“She told me that she’s going to be better and be home to see her friends, her family, her kitty and her puppy,” he said. “Once again, I can only say how thankful I am for everyone who has come forward to help us in this very difficult time.”

The Greater Trail community is not letting this family face this reality alone, if the tremendous support that has poured in is any indication.

In a few short weeks about $20,000 has been raised to alleviate the cost of staying away until chemotherapy treatment is complete.

The money will cover the family’s mortgage and bills back home but will also pay for costs associated with staying in Vancouver.

Pat and Jill Beauchamp, close family friends, started the cause with a Facebook group for friends to send well wishes and in no time the message reached enough people wanting to help that a trust fund at Kootenay Savings was opened.

Ideas were flowing and eventually Cadance’s second cousin Helen Bobbitt stepped in to help manage the fundraising initiative, which was a natural task for a woman who has about a decade of fundraising experience.

“Cadance is a beautiful, vivacious five year old whose medical journey has mobilized an army of amazing people and the incredible support in our very generous community of Trail . . .,” said Bobbitt. “Jeremy and Amy are a young couple, just like many in our area who work hard, are kind, humble and private and proud to call Trail home.”

There are already several fundraising initiatives underway, with donations set to go directly into the trust fund.

Currently Kerry Vandermeer (231-2508) is selling raffle tickets for three festive gift baskets to be drawn on Christmas Eve.

A bake sale is scheduled for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Waneta Plaza, also spearheaded by Vandermeer.

Crownz for Cadance, which can be signed with well wishes and displayed, are available for purchase on the main floor of Fortis, Maglio’s Building Centre, Sunshine Daycare and MediChair in Castlegar.

Kotyk’s best friend Chelcee Fedor is accepting orders for her “Hugs for Cadance,” handmade scarves for $20. She can be reached via Facebook.

To top it off, a New Year for Cadance is being celebrated with a New Year’s Eve benefit dinner, dance and silent auction at the Cominco Gym Dec. 31 from 6:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. The no-minors dinner, which includes appetizers, midnight snack and champagne, will be catered in kind by Darren Rossi. Bands Green Avenue, Round 2 and Emerson have also volunteered their time to put on the big event. A safe ride home is ensured by the AM Ford Shuttle Service. The cash-only tickets are $50 and went on sale this past Friday at Pharmasave and Maglio’s in Trail.

The 350-person event that is sure to sell out, according to Bobbitt, still needs volunteers for all roles including serving, bartending and decorating.

Donations can also be made to the Hope for Cadance Trust Fund at Kootenay Savings or online at http://www.gofundme.com/hope4cadance

For more information visit the Hope for Cadance Facebook page or contact Bobbitt directly at 231-7971.

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