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.”

 

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

Just Posted

Deboon retires from conservation service

After nearly 30 years of service as a conservation officer in the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Highway 3A reopened after mudslide cleared

A mudslide closed Highway 3A between Castlegar and Nelson just north of the Brilliant Dam on Wednesday.

Gallery: Fernie Alpine Resort closing weekend

Our best photos from the Powder, Pedal, Paddle relay race, Fernival and Slope Soaker.

Focus on emergency preparedness

Fernie to host 2018 Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments Convention from April 18-20.

VIDEO: Gerry Pang – the heart of hockey

After coaching hockey goaltenders since 1997, Gerry Pang has finally decided to hang up the skates.

Shania Twain visits Canadian Armed Forces base in B.C.

Canadian country icon thanks members of CFB Esquimalt for their service

Countdown is on to the 2018 B.C. Summer Games

Cowichan Valley hosts on July 19-22

Driving Change: A B.C. man’s charitable trip across Canada

A Kelowna man, his bus, and his mission for positive change across our country

Case of teacher secretly filming teens reaches top court

Acquittal of teacher, Ryan Jarvis, who secretly videoed teens ‘dangerous,’ top court told

Why a 14-year-old will lead the charge at annual marijuana protest on the Hill

Marijuana enthusiasts have long been circling April 20 on their calendars as annual day of cannabis

B.C. communities await marine spill compensation years after incidents

The government maintains a Ship Source Oil Pollution Fund to compensate Canadians

RCMP say too early to know what happened in Broncos crash

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said collission very complex

Conservative MP wants feds to close loophole for illegal border crossers

Immigration advocates call on government to suspend Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement

Alberta university criticized for honouring David Suzuki

University of Alberta plans to bestow environmentalist with honourary degree

Most Read