Hannah Day, 4, returns home leukemia-free for her dad's birthday
Four-year-old Victoria girl has battled two types of cancer during her short life
A girl from Victoria, B.C., who has battled stomach cancer and leukemia during her four short years is returning home cancer-free on the same day as her father's birthday.
According to an update on her family's website, Hannah will undergo her final bone marrow biopsy on Friday, before leaving B.C. Children's Hospital for the final time.
The first indication things had turned around came in May, when her family announced that Hannah was showing zero signs of leukemia after a last-ditch stem cell transplant.
On the family website, Hannah's mother Brooke Ervin says, "Friday is the day; the big day we have really been waiting for for the last two years.
"One positive thing is Hannah's body will slowly start to heal because she will never again receive chemotherapy or radiation...Her hair is coming in and she is very excited."
However, Ervin says, the odds are against them and the chances Hannah will relapse are high.
"We are anxious to move on with our lives and put this horrible nightmare behind us, but we are very scared,' she writes.
"We have exhausted all treatment options and there is nothing more they can do for us...If Hannah shows any signs of leukemia or her rabdomoyosarcoma she will move into palliative care."
Nevertheless, the family is trying to give Hannah as normal a life as possible and she is registered to start Happy Valley School for September.
"The odds are against us she won't survive but we will continue to stay positive and hope she gets the life she so badly deserves," said Ervin.
Long battle with cancer
Hannah was first diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at the age of three, when a malignant tumour was found in her stomach. She underwent intensive treatment and went into remission.
The drug that cured her, however, is thought to have caused her subsequent leukemia.
Day's family searched for a stem cell donor match while the little girl underwent chemotherapy. However, that treatment did not go well and her leukemia returned with a vengeance.
In a last ditch attempt to save her, the family decided to try a stem cell transplant. Ervin donated one litre of her stem cells to her daughter in hopes of staving off the cancer.
But she was readmitted a week later, after she began suffering graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a painful complication that can occur after a stem cell transplant, in which the donor cells attack the transplant recipient's body.
Happily, the GVHD began to disappear by the end of May, after treatment with steroids, and doctors declared her healthy enough to return to finally return to her Victoria home.
Ongoing check-ups required
Hannah will still have to return to Victoria General Hospital once a week and to B.C. Children's Hospital every month for two years. She will also undergo scans every three months to make sure her original cancer doesn't reappear.
On the family website Ervin sums up her feelings as Hannah's final day in hospital approaches.
"I hope we can move on from this and forget it ever happened. It's time this roller coaster ended for us and we so badly want to live a normal life like everyone else.
"My little girl has been fighting and suffering for most of her life and it's time it ended."
A welcome back BBQ will be held in Langford, B.C. on Friday night, according to the Day family website.