I wasn’t too sure where to start this column, it is a tough one for me.
I thought of crafty intro’s but nothing seemed right. Instead, I ask you to look at the picture of the young girl above this column. Little Miss Myla is the daughter of my slo pitch teammate, and more importantly my friend, Jen Levesque.
It was only a few weeks ago I found out Myla was at the Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. The little girl with a smile always on her face is sick.
Now I don’t have kids, but if you have been around the ball field you know that everyone kind of becomes an adoptive parent to the little ones running around. I couldn’t even imagine looking into Myla’s face and trying to explain to her she has cancer, much less how to pronounce rhabdomyosarcoma.
After weeks of Myla being sick and in pain, a mass tissue was found behind her nasal cavity affecting her ear as well as her throat. She has been receiving chemotherapy treatment at the Vancouver Children’s Hospital and returns back to Penticton this weekend to get her next round of chemo.
While this type of cancer is treatable, the family will need to travel to Seattle for Myla to receive six weeks of proton radiation therapy. The therapist said Myla’s face will not grow properly and she will need multiple surgeries as she grows up. Devastating news for an already difficult path ahead.
Friends have set up a GoFundMe.com account (Support for Little Miss Myla) that has raised just over $19,000 in 11 days. Jen is extremely overwhelmed about the donations that have come in.
“We are so appreciative to live with and have such a caring community. Everyone has done so much already and we have so many people behind us. It has helped us stay focused on being positive and moving forward to heal Myla. It’s going to be a long road of treatment but I can’t say enough how thankful we are,” she told me.
While it seems like a lot of money to most, the cost of travel, accommodations, food and missing time at work will add up.
A charity golf tournament is taking place on April 18 at Twin Lakes Golf and Country Club, visit Little Miss Myla Golf Tourney Fundraiser on Facebook for more info. As well the team I play ball with, the Smokin’ Aces, are hosting a tournament April 24 to 25. Last year it was in honour of the late Scott Mullins and we raised over $4,500 for the family.
My offer of help, in whatever form Jen needs, still makes me feel useless. I write that with a lump in my throat and think about another little Penticton girl, Chloe Kroeger, who lost the battle against this very same kind of cancer last year. An outpouring of support and positive energy came from the community and beyond to assist her family. I am asking and hoping the community does the same for Myla.
As friends we can provide Kyle, Jen, Myla and her sister Vanelle hugs, laughter and positive light. I am also doing the one thing I know I can and that is bring awareness to the fight of Little Miss Myla’s life. One that we already know she will come at with a smile on her face (and maybe some ice cream), her arms up ready to punch and an army behind her.
Kristi Patton is the editor for the Penticton Western News