The caring and compassion for a Penticton youngster suffering from a rare form of cancer just keeps increasing.
Described as a typical little girl who loves dresses, princesses and hugs from her big brother, the battle four-year-old Chloe Kroeger and her family have been waging has captured the hearts of thousands of people.
It has not only banded the community together but according to Uplands Elementary School teacher Carla Garrett, where Chloe’s brother Lucas attends kindergarten, has united the staff and students in a way she has never experienced before.
“Chloe’s an absolute delight and she’s really brought the school together, it’s like a big family in there now,” said Garrett, who first met Chloe last September when she came with her mother Gina to drop Lucas off. “Chloe’s battle has become our battle over the year.
“It’s a very tragic story that no one should have to go through but at the same time it’s very inspirational to see the community come together to support them.
“I think if nothing else it lets them know that we care and that we’re there for them, just to let them know that they’re not going through this alone.”
Gina, who was at Uplands Thursday with Chloe to watch the kindergarten class butterfly release, agreed the response has been overwhelming.
“The community that we live in is amazing and I’m speechless when it comes to what to say because there are no words for how thankful we are,” said Gina, as she watched Chloe running through the playground with the other kids afterwards. “What this has meant is giving us our time with Chloe, we can spend all our time with her and making memories and that’s what it’s all about for us right now, that’s the most important thing.”
On a Facebook page (Miracle for Chloe) started in January, people have been able to follow Chloe’s struggles through the too-often sad postings by her mother.
That included the one Gina wrote after her little girl’s last round of treatments and learning of the negative results of the scans.
“Our good news never came today. The intensive treatment Chloe has received has shown next to no results in shrinking her tumours her cancer is too aggressive. Chemo and radiation have not been able to kill this monster inside our baby,” she wrote.
But as well on the page is that tremendous outpouring of support, which has included many fundraisers and outright donations to give the young family that time together.
That included an impromptu, dream-come-true trip to Disney World in Orlando, Fla. The four, including the children’s father John, are scheduled to leave on Sunday.
It was arranged through the Make a Wish Foundation.
Another trip to Newfoundland, where Gina’s family lives, is also in the works.
“It has been truly life changing to witness people giving whatever they could to help support this family in need,” said Garrett.
“Not one person expected something in return.
“There is magic in the incredible acts of kindness and bravery displayed by members of our community.”
She added Chloe’s treatments have stopped and her medical prognosis is not good, making the family time together that much more important.
Money raised has come from businesses, bake sales, events held by students, staff and families from other schools, including a $1,000 cheque from the career transition class at Penticton Secondary School.
The IGA grocery store held a barbecue recently and last Sunday over $2,000 was raised at the Penticton Speedway.
“It really doesn’t matter how it is, right now every little bit helps,” said Garrett, who had a special wish of her own as she released butterflies into the afternoon sky.
Donations can still be made through Facebook.