3 months old. And he has cancer.

Baby Finn just knew everything would be alright. And, if he could talk, he would have told his Mom & Dad not to worry. But Finn was only 3 months old, so there’s no way he could tell them.

Crazy things go through your head when you’re working on a children’s cancer unit. Sometimes you imagine that children actually know whether or not they’ll make it.

Mostly you wonder why. Why this child? Why Baby Finn? Why do children get cancer at all?

No one really knows why. That’s what researchers are trying to understand, so they can stop it for good.

I remember the first time I ever saw Baby Finn. He had the bluest eyes, the softest wisp of blonde hair and a tube in his little chest for chemotherapy.

What a brave little boy. Three months old and all he knew was cancer — needles, chemo and central lines. All his mom and dad knew was a cheerful but sick little boy in need of constant medical care.

I’m glad those days are over for Finn. You’ll be happy to know that Finn is turning 6 this year and he’s all done treatment.

As a children’s cancer nurse, I have cared for hundreds of children like little Finn and it pains me to tell you that even when children survive, the cancer journey is not over. Over 75% of children who survive cancer face at least one chronic health problem the rest of their lives.

Finn’s cancer journey is far from over. He sees a battalion of specialists to manage his side effects — pediatric oncologists, neurologists, geneticists, endocrinologists, ophthalmologists, orthopedic surgeons, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and more.

Instead of learning and being with his friends at school, Finn has to see these specialists for regular monitoring and testing. What a way to grow up . . .

But there is hope. Did you know that not long ago, cancer was a death sentence for most kids? Today, 83% of Canadian children survive. We are making progress.

I hope you find this comforting. By supporting Kids Cancer Care, you will be part of a growing movement that is gaining momentum in the fight against childhood cancer.

But I don’t have to tell you we have more work to do.

As a children’s cancer nurse, I get up early every day, determined to do my best for these kids . . . because I know there is hope. You give us hope. You may not be in health care, but you can still help in your own way.

Thank you for supporting children with cancer.

Janessa Decoste, RN, BScN
Pediatric Oncology Nurse & Nursing Coordinator

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