in the fall of 2010 Aleksei was spending much of his free time doing what he loves best...playing Football and Hockey! At the same time as his football team continued to march towards the city championships, hockey camps and try outs were starting up.

Many of those days Aleksei went from football cleats to hockey skates, so when he started to complain of a sore lower back, it made sense to us that the pain was likely the result of the level of physical activity he was currently involved in. Still we thought a visit to his Pediatrician was a good idea.

At that appointment we were referred to an Orthopedic Surgeon, who ordered an MRI, the result of which started us on the downward spiral our lives were about to take. There was a tumor at the L5/S1 region of Aleksei’s spine growing amongst the nerves in that area..
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On December 3, 2010 Aleksei spent 10 hours on the operating table while our surgeon, removed all visible ares of the tumor except for a very small caudal area that had grown into the rootlets themselves.

With broken hearts we cared for Aleksei while waiting to hear what the pathology report would reveal. The days stretched into 6 agonizing weeks until finally on January 18, 2011, we received the diagnosis of Ewing’s Sarcoma which was thankfully localized we found out later. Our boy had cancer. Nothing prepared us for the gut-wrenching, tearful days that ensued. Even now as I sit and write this, 2 1/2 years later, the tears threaten to spill over as I recall those early days.

Treatment began immediately and I struggled with anger and helplessness at having to watch Aleksei go through something I didn’t think I would be able to handle. If I could have changed places with him, I would have in a heartbeat. Aleksei quickly lost his hair, fluctuated between nausea and vomiting and suffered with the pain of mouth sores. Precious time that should have been spent going to school, playing sports and hanging out with his friends was lost. Throughout it all Aleksei’s resolve never faltered.

Since the day we sat down and heard about the tumor in Aleksei’s spine, he has remained the trustful, kind and humble person he has always been. Never, ever asking “why me” Aleksei’s strength of character remained in tact. He quickly came to understand and expect the highs and lows of the treatment and what he needed to do to work his way through it. In his quiet, determined way Aleksei showed us just how courageous he is. He will forever be our hero.

Aleksei is currently finishing Grade 9 at St. Paul’s High School and has been able to resume playing hockey and football just as he did before. We are so very grateful that Aleksei has not shown any evidence of disease for 20 months!

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