Trail’s Cadance Brace shines through chemotherapy

“The best news is the leukemia is in full remission,” said Cadance's dad, Jeremey Brace.

Jeremy Brace has broken three of his five-year-old daughter’s mood rings since she’s been diagnosed with cancer but the East Trail resident says he will continue to wear her jewellery until she’s cured.

Life has changed dramatically for him and his wife Amy Kotyk since Cadance was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, cancer of the white blood cells, in November and the family uprooted to Vancouver to be close to BC Children’s Hospital.

The family has spent anywhere from four hours to five days at the hospital, never knowing how long they’ll stay until they check in.

The induction period to chemotherapy is now over and Cadance has been classified as a standard case but as a slow responder, which means that she continues to receive the high-risk classification of treatment. To top it off, Cadance recently became ill with a bacteria infection (Clostridium difficile) and then the Norwalk virus but she’s in good health now and is still smiling.

“The best news is the leukemia is in full remission,” said Brace. “The next phase will be at least another four months, with Cadance having to be at the oncology clinic in Children’s a few times a week.

“The doctor told us this phase will be more aggressive and hard on my little girl so a giant thank you to everyone who’s been pulling for her so far.”

Supporters who are members of the Facebook group “Hope for Cadance” would have already received this message. The little girl’s fight hasn’t gone unnoticed by the community that has rallied behind her with well wishes and online donations, contributions to a Hope for Cadance Trust Fund at Kootenay Savings Credit Union and by buying into various fundraisers, including a New Year’s Eve benefit dinner.

The money raised helps the family cover their mortgage and bills back home and the costs associated with staying in Vancouver.

“I just want to say how proud I am to be from this town and how thankful I am because without what they’ve done I wouldn’t be able to take care of my kid,” Brace told the Times over coffee on a recent trip home. “Mom is her teddy bear but I’m the bad guy that keeps the boogie man away.”

The family has been saving most of this money for rainy days but the future looks costly so Brace is now dealing with the reality of having to go back to work this summer. He plans on returning to his job with Hil-Tech Contracting but in the meantime is measuring his short-term options, which could include work on the Coast to stay close to his family.

“I’m grateful for the fact that (Hil-Tech) told me I have a job waiting when I come back,” he said.

Brace was renovating his home last winter when he literally dropped what he was doing and left for Vancouver to station his family close to BC Children’s Hospital.

The carpet to their house needs to be ripped out and replaced with new flooring, which has been donated by Russ and Pat Beauchamp of Maglio Building Centre. A few of his skilled buddies have since chipped in their time to get the job done.

There’s over 100 days left of full on chemotherapy treatment for Cadance before she enters the maintenance stage and returns home to her family and friends.

“I told her that in life there are times when you’re worried, you’re scared and everybody is always telling you ‘don’t get mad,’” said Brace. “But you know what kiddo,” I said, “if you’re angry, get angry and if you have nowhere to direct it now, beat on me if you want.’”

Donations can be made to the Hope for Cadance Trust Fund at Kootenay Savings or online at (www.gofundme.com/hope4cadance). For more information visit the Hope for Cadance Facebook page.

Anyone interested in holding a fundraiser for Cadance should get in touch with Helen Bobbitt at 231-7971.