Three-year-old Finnley Stanley with parents Jordan (left) and Jennell at their home in Armstrong August 2020. Finnley was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on Canada Day 2019. Finnley is now in remission, and his parents advocate supporting the BC Children’s Hospital Dream Lottery, which in turn supports the research and care that kids like Finnley rely on. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Children’s Hospital crucial in Okanagan toddler’s fight against leukemia

The BC Children’s Hospital Dream Lottery supports research and care behind Finnley Stanley’s treatment

It’s been a year filled with hardship for the Stanley family of Armstrong. But with the help of BC Children’s Hospital, it’s also been a year filled with hope.

After 10 straight days of fever in July 2019, Jennell and Jordan Stanley brought their then two-and-a-half year old son Finnley to the Vernon Jubilee Hospital. Following blood tests and a subsequent trip to the emergency room in Salmon Arm, Finnley was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) on Canada Day.

Jennell described it as “the worst news as a parent.”

Finnley’s blood test results showed a platelet count of seven when at his age they should have been at least 120. If the playful and energetic toddler were to have fallen and scraped his knee or have a bleeding nose, it could have led to life-threatening blood loss.

Fortunately, the Stanleys didn’t have to sit with the news for long before jumping into action mode.

“When (the doctor) told us he had leukemia, he said that this is a treatable illness and there’s a team of doctors at Children’s Hospital already working on his case, and we’re going to fly you down in 15 minutes,” Jennell said.

Finnley and Jennell flew to Richmond at 2 a.m. in a Learjet too small to fit Jordan, who drove down to meet them. By the time Jordan arrived, Finnley already had testing done to prepare for a surgery to insert a port in his chest.

READ MORE: Summerland Terry Fox Run organizers urge individual efforts

Now three years old, Finnley is in remission. With the help the Stanley family received from BC Children’s Hospital staff — including an on-call oncologist available 24/7 — he’s on a maintenance phase that requires daily oral chemotherapy at home and trips to the Children’s Hospital every three months.

“They’re constantly researching to better improve the treatments,” Jennell said. “Since Finnley was diagnosed I’ve had old acquaintances contact me and say ‘hey, guess what, I had leukemia when I was three also’ … and the difference in treatment now compared to what they went through is just incredible.”

Jordan said the Children’s Hospital is “a lot more than just a medical field,” describing a full team of staff dedicated to taking care of himself, Jennell and their six-year-old daughter Mayelle.

“They made it clear to us that we didn’t have to worry about where we have to stay, and how we’re going to treat our son.”

The family stayed at Ronald McDonald House during their time at Children’s Hospital, and the parent’s say they’re incredibly grateful for the treatment and support they received at both — as well as blood donors who supplied Finnley’s transfusions.

Through the needle pokes, lumbar punctures, chemo treatments and all the rest, Finnley’s bravery has shone through.

“He’s resilient,” Jennell said. “It’s been a lesson for us watching him and trying not to be afraid and fearful, because he’s not afraid and fearful. So we just try to follow his lead, and it’s been incredible.”

Tickets for the 2020 BC Children’s Hospital Dream Lottery are on sale now, with proceeds going towards the vast care networks and research that kids like Finnley rely on.

The winner of the grand prize gets their pick of one of seven dream homes in B.C., including two in the Okanagan, valued at up to $2.8 million, or $2.2 million in cash.

Tickets are available until midnight Oct. 15. Purchases can be made online, by phone at 604-692-2333 or 1-888-887-8771 or in-person at London Drugs and Save-On Foods.

READ MORE: Former Kelowna resident makes fundraising goal for cancer fertility treatments

READ MORE: B.C.’s community COVID-19 spread continues with 90 new cases


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Cancer

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

Just Posted

Boot launches campaign with Facebook Live event

NDP candidate for riding of Penticton joined by John Horgan, Richard Cannings and others

Osoyoos awards $77,000 contract for universal water metering

TR Underwood Engineering won the bid for planning and implementing water meters across town

Column: $200,000 donation to Penticton Regional Hospital more than ‘a little something’

The donation brings us closer to our goal of a second CT scanner at hospital

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen seeks input about proposed composting facility

Organics composting facility proposed for Campbell Mountain Landfill

Netflix star Francesca Farago seen hanging in the Okanagan

Farago got her big break as a reality TV star in Netflix’s ‘Too Hot to Handle’ in 2020

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

Peachland resident finds severed bear paw on driveway

Tracie Gordon thought it was a Halloween prank, but it turned out to be a real bear paw

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Zero new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

Five cases remain linked to an outbreak at Calvary Chapel in Kelowna

Most Read