In mid-June, when most high-school kids are already enjoying their holidays, and starting summer jobs, 15-year-old Tynan from Barrie ON, and our family received the shock of a lifetime.
After six weeks of headaches and joint discomfort and multiple trips to doctors and ER's we finally got the answer to his pain. Ty's blood work indicated that he had ALL- Acute Lymphoblastic leukemia and we were to proceed to the Sick Kid's ER where the team would be waiting for us.
For those who know Ty he is a fighter- he has battled in hockey, rugby, baseball and we expect this battle to be no different. The doctors were very clear that they had every expectation that Ty would win this battle and walk out the door back to his life. The journey was not sugar coated and we knew that it would be a long road with ups and downs but the outlook was positive.
Ty's "ALL" will be treated in three phases’ induction, consolidation and maintenance which will take three years to complete. Yes, he will lose his hair and yes it will be hard but he is well equipped and supported in his fight to get better.
This fall Ty might not get a chance to return to school or play his beloved sport of hockey, and our family is counting on the generosity of strangers to give him the strength to fight for life itself.
Once Ty’s diagnosis was revealed to our family, friends and community the outpouring of support was massive and we were overwhelmed. Every phone call, email and text all asked the same question- “What can we do to help?” On Day Four of treatment Ty’s blood work indicated that a transfusion was necessary and he needed to have a unit of RBC’s and one of platelets. It became clear in that moment the answer to everyone’s question was “donate blood”. This was something everyone could do and would be the greatest gift not only for Ty but for all people that require blood products.
Our support system switched into high gear and within hours many members of our family had searched out their local Canadian Blood Service Clinic and were posting photos on social media of them donating for Ty and urging others to join. In addition to this our close friends organized a Blood Donor clinic in Barrie for June which filled up all 80 spaces within days. This was the greatest gift of all!
“Ty is in great spirits and continues to fight this with everything he has,” says Patrick Armatage, Ty’s father. “This next leg of our journey is called “intensification” and will last eight months. During this phase, Ty’s immune system will be almost non-existent as his care team tries to find and kill the cancer cells hiding in his body. We’ve been told to expect several blood and platelet transfusions during this phase. We’re grateful to blood donors for their support for Ty and other patients in need.”
We have embarked on a lengthy journey and adjusting as a family to our new normal. We approach this with positivity and strength and hope to pay it all forward in the future once we have reached a successful ending to our journey.
The Canadian Blood Services motto of “Blood, it’s in you to give” rings true. Blood has no monetary value but it is truly priceless and you never know when it will be your child, your parent, or yourself that needs this precious gift.
Tynan, Walker, Finn, Patrick, Tracy and Huck