Christmas spirit is shining brightly in the valley this year, even more so for one family that has come triumphantly through a battle with cancer.
As reported four years ago in The Valley Echo, Crisanna McLeods daughter Crisdon Chaisson struggled with a rare form of cancer called ameloblastoma in her jaw. Thanks to surgery in Vancouver General Hospital, Crisdon has beaten the cancer and, three years later, life is back to normal for her, her mother and her two kids, Ataya and Rythom.
Its just this year that Ive finally let go of most of the fear that she (Crisdon) is dying, because she was dying for so long, said Crisanna. I dont live with her cancer anymore. I dont even see her as a cancer survivor, shes just back to being Crisdon. I dont have this scratching of the cancer, its gone and its quiet in my head now.
Initially, it had seemed like Crisdon would have to go to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona for treatment, but in the end a team in Vancouver was able to do the surgery in April 2011, taking a piece of a bone from Crisdons leg and putting it into her jaw. Crisanna said she was amazed at the support the family received from the community following Crisdons diagnosis.
Friends would come to Crisdons house to look after her, cooking meals, doing chores, and helping Crisanna and the kids cope as best as they could. When it seemed like Crisdon would have to go to Arizona, people donated air miles and money to help make the trip there less expensive.
That time was crazy and horrible and terrible, but it was also heartwarming to get so much support, said Crisanna. I dont think a lot of people are aware of just how many people stood behind us and how much they did for us. I just want to recognize them, because it was such a big help. People stopped by and helped not just with Crisdon, but also with us, whether it was somebody popping in to give me a hug or somebody wanting to make sure I wasnt too busy to eat right and taking me out to lunch. I marvel at it, it was amazing.
Three years after the surgery, Crisdon and her
family members are doing well and getting on with their lives.
We are all alive and well. The community is responsible for Crisdon not only surviving, but also now thriving, said Crisanna.
Crisdon now works as a marketing director for World Financial Group, with offices here in the valley, in Lethbridge and Calgary. Rythom has graduated from elementary school and attends David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS). Ataya has graduated DTSS and is embarking on adult life. As The Pioneer goes to press, Crisanna is enjoying a tropical cruise vacation that she was sent on by Crisdon.