Lily Earl and her mother, Sheri, Tuesday November 7. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Looking back on her battle with Leukemia

On November 14, 2012, two-and-a-half-year-old Lily Earl was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

What followed was 28 months of treatment.

“It’s like a marathon, not a sprint,” said her mother, Sheri, who lived in Calgary for eight weeks when Lily was first diagnosed.

During this time, Sheri said the community support was amazing. By Christmas of 2012, friends and family had donated over $22,000 to help offset the cost of treatment. They also decorated the Earl’s house for Christmas, and had it ready for them when they arrived back home from Calgary on December 22.

As of January 2015, she stopped all chemo, steroids and medication. By July, Lily’s immune system had recovered. She returned to Calgary once a month for blood work and an oncology exam.

In 2016, she was required to return once every two months, and this year, once every three.

For the past three years, the Earl family was expecting that January 2018 would mark Lily’s three-year off-treatment milestone. On Tuesday, November 7, 2017, Lily’s oncologist told her that he didn’t need to see her anymore. This came as a welcome surprise for the Earl family.

The reason oncology exams extend three years after treatment, is that doctors want to make sure that not even one bad cell is left behind which could cause a relapse.

For the next few years, Lily will occasionally check in with doctors to check for side-affects surfacing as a result of the chemo treatments such as heart defects and skin issues. During her 28 months of treatment, Lily was subjected to 28 spinal taps, so for the next few years, doctors will be checking for cognitive issues as well.

From the age of two, to four-and-a-half, Lily was on treatment. She doesn’t remember much from this time.

“Her thing, I think, is that it’s kind of a way of life,” said Sheri. “Going to Calgary and laying out your arm for blood work, is what she’s always done.”

Lily finished her treatment a few months before kindergarten, and is now half way through grade two. Although there were concerns pertaining to cognitive issues, she is on par with all her peers. Her favourite subject is math.

Despite roadblocks in her early life, Lily now lives life to the fullest.

“She can ski all day, she’s in judo, singing, running club, she can eat more than a small man,” said Sheri.

“She hasn’t missed a beat.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The Earl Family, missing from photo is father Jordan Earl. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Just Posted

Pick all your apples and save the bears

As summer ends, bears become more active looking for food

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

B.C. Premier announces fall election

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka reacts to election announcement

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Most Read