B.C. newborn battles rare leukemia
Baby diagnosed on Christmas Eve with acute lymphoblastic leukemia
Friends and supporters are rallying around a B.C. family whose four-week-old baby is facing months of cancer treatment after being diagnosed with a rare form of infant leukemia.
David and Rebekah Campbell's daughter Molly was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells, on Christmas Eve.
The baby was airlifted from Victoria to BC Children's Hospital, and her parents spent Christmas Day at her bedside.
Their four other children spent the day at home with family members in a Victoria suburb.
"From there, it's just been a couple of surgeries, and then next week is full-blown chemotherapy," David Campbell said.
Molly can only be treated in Vancouver. Both parents hope to relocate to the Lower Mainland, which means David may have to quit his job.
A website has been set up to help raise money and offer emotional support. In the past week, more than $10,000 has been raised to help the family.
"The response has been really amazing, people are really coming out from the community, from Victoria, from British Columbia, and frankly from all over the world," said Paul Pearson, a friend of the family.
"People, I think, really understand that this is such a tragedy," Pearson said.
Molly's father, David, said the website has also been a source of emotional support for the family.
"It helps so much, even just to see the website," Campbell said. "Last night we stayed up until two in the morning just reading people's little messages of hope."
Leukemia is the most common type of cancer to affect children, but Dr. Kirk Schultz, a pediatric oncologist at BC Children's Hospital, said this form of infant leukemia is diagnosed only two or three times a year in Canada.
Molly's progressTo learn more about Molly Campbell's progress, or how to donate, visit Baby Molly's website
"It's quite unusual for the little babies, and it seems to be quite a different type of leukemia and it's very difficult to treat," he said.
Schultz said the situation is further complicated because Molly is so young.
"When they're that small, we always worry a lot about the side-effects of the therapy," he said. "In particular, little babies are very susceptible to infections."
Schultz said there's no known cause for infant leukemia and it appears to be a chance event. He said it starts to develop before the baby is born and can show up early, as in Molly's case, or later in childhood.
Supporters are also planning a bottle drive and a charity hockey event to raise funds to help the family through the long treatment.
"I told my wife this morning that Molly's going to be the biggest advocate for cancer research that anyone's ever seen," Campbell said.