December 03, 2013 - 2:35 PM
THEY THOUGHT IT WAS JUST A PULLED MUSCLE
KELOWNA - For the family of nine-year-old Kelowna resident Liam Lauinger, November was a very difficult month.
After complaining of a pain in his left leg, Liam’s dad Shilo and his mother Amber took him to their family doctor.
“His leg had been bothering him for a couple of months,” Shilo says. “They thought it was just a pulled muscle.”
A PET scan in early November revealed that it was, in fact, a localized osteosarcoma, a tumor that had begun protruding from the bone just above the knee. It was pressing on a major nerve, causing intense pain and affecting Liam’s mobility.
Their doctor told them he would need to go to the Children’s Hospital in Vancouver and undergo chemotherapy that could extend until August of 2014.
“It was such a shock,” said Shilo. “I couldn’t even believe it.”
Liam, who is described as an “active kid” and enjoyed swimming three times a week, now gets around with the use of a wheelchair or crutches.
“They basically told us that it’s somewhat similar to the cancer that Terry Fox had,” Shilo says.
“Now we’re on an eight month journey of chemo.”
In order to be with their son in Vancouver, both parents have had to quit their jobs and live off their savings.
“Money has been very tight,” Shilo says. “It would be easier if we could be in Kelowna, but since we’re in Vancouver there’s more cost to living.”
In addition to the regular mortgage payments and utility bills, the family now has to pay for hotels and travel expenses. They are getting some help from the BC Family Residence Program, but say they are quickly running out of money.
Friends and family have set up a Facebook and a fundraising page to help raise money to offset some of the costs.
“The support we’ve gotten from our friends and family has been amazing. It’s allowed Amber and I the time to just keep Liam positive.”
Despite all of the adversity they have been faced with recently, Shilo and Amber say they are constantly impressed with Liam’s ability to cope.
“As far as being able to handle it, he’s done really, really well,” Shilo said. “After what he's going through, it’s hard for us to complain about anything anymore."
To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at email@example.com, call (250) 718-0428 or tweet @AdamProskiw.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013