Yukon child who survived cancer now enjoying kindergarten

More than four years after receiving a life-saving liver transplant, four-year-old Emmett Smith has started kindergarten in Whitehorse.

Emmett Smith captured hearts and headlines as he underwent several rounds of chemotherapy as a baby

Emmett Smith, four, started kindergarten in 2019. He underwent surgery for cancer when he was six months old. (Steve Silva/CBC)

More than four years after receiving a life-saving liver transplant, a boy in Whitehorse has started kindergarten.

"He's been really healthy," said Charlotte Francis-Smith, mother of Emmett Smith. "You just like kind of forget about it, a little bit."

Emmett, who was born with a rare form of liver cancer, captured hearts and headlines as he underwent several rounds of chemotherapy.

"It was scary," said Francis-Smith.

She and Emmett had to be away from home in Carcross, Yukon, and their family for nine months. He was first treated in Vancouver, then Edmonton.

Francis-Smith said it was trying for her to deal with the situation while in unfamiliar cities, and she appreciates the support she and Emmett received.

More than $10,000 was collected for the family through an online fundraiser.

"With support and family, you can get through anything," Francis-Smith said. "If you need help, ask for help. It's always out there. Someone's always willing to help you."

Charlotte Francis-Smith said she appreciates the support she got while her son Emmett Smith dealt with cancer. (Steve Silva/CBC)

While some help came from strangers and acquaintances, other help came from much closer sources. Emmett's father, Michael Smith, donated part of his liver to the then-six-month-old.

"[Emmett] doesn't really realize what he's been through," Francis-Smith said, adding that he's your everyday boy.

Emmett's story was also seen on TV by a man in Edmonton, and that spurred the man to befriend the boy and his family, she said — "an 'honorary grandpa,' I call him."

Emmett has that effect on others, Francis-Smith said.

"As soon as anyone meets him, they just fall in love with him. You ask him why he's cute, he'll tell you why," she said.

Emmett started kindergarten recently, and he adores it, according to his mom.

"So far, he's been really good in school," Francis-Smith said.

However, he did get one time-out already, "but, you know, he's four," she added with a laugh.


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