- Our Town
Update: Help wanted with A Miracle for Megan
Four-year-old Megan Leverrier has been a healthy, active little girl, a girl who loves to dance and loves to sing.
About three weeks ago her parents took her to the doctor because her abdomen was distended, explains her aunt, Tracey Nickolson. Michelle and Jaimie Leverrier are Megan’s parents; Nickolson is Michelle’s sister.
Various tests and X-rays were done. It was thought Megan was possibly constipated, so she was sent home to pass the blockage. However, the doctor called that night to say she should be taken to hospital right away. She went to Vernon Jubilee, where the doctors there said she must get to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver immediately; she has a cancerous tumour.
Because it would take too long to arrange a medical flight out of Kelowna, the family dropped everything and set off by car.
When Megan was examined in Vancouver, the family understood the tumour would likely be treated with chemotherapy. However, more tests were done because the mass was growing so rapidly. Because of concerns about internal bleeding, a proper biopsy wasn’t possible.
Nickolson says doctors – a total of 28 have been discussing Megan’s condition – have determined the mass is very rare, an angiosarcoma surrounded by a hemangioma, a tumour within a tumour, attached to her liver.
Because Toronto Sick Children’s Hospital is a larger hospital with more resources, Megan and her family were sent to Toronto yesterday. Nickolson said Michelle, Jaimie and Megan’s two-year-old brother Gavin will stay at Ronald McDonald House, while the children’s grandparents will be in a nearby hotel.
One possibility in Toronto would be to do a liver transplant, either using a section of one of her parents’ livers or through an organ donor.
“If something happens and they can’t figure it out there, they’ll maybe even send her to Seattle,” says Nickolson, noting a centre there specializes in liver transplants.
The rapid growth of the tumour, which has reached the size of a football, is particularly dangerous as it is pushing on her other organs.
Still, “she’s coherent, she’s eating, she’s still got spunk,” said Nickolson Friday, adding yesterday that a blood transfusion over the weekend took her down for a while.
Megan’s illness has been understandably traumatic for the family, particularly with its sudden onset. It has also been expensive. Not only will the family have to pay for living expenses in Toronto, but if Megan goes to Seattle, it’s not certain her medical costs will be covered.
However, if there’s a bright side, it’s the community’s support.
Jaimie is a local RCMP officer. The police are raising money – one event was a pub night last Saturday, another a bake sale.
Other people are raising funds, including Megan’s ballet class in Sorrento and a Blind Bay hair salon. Information about the fundraisers can be found on a Facebook page for Megan at www.facebook.com/meganleverrier. As well, Miracle for Megan bracelets will soon be distributed for sale.
If you wish to donate via a financial institution, a trust fund for the family has been set up at the TD Bank; donate to the Leverrier Family Trust - Transit: 9151 Account: 6387650. Donations, including cheques, can be sent to Mike Dibblee at Salmon Arm RCMP Detachment, 1980 11th Ave. NE, Salmon Arm, V1E 2V5. There is also a trust account at the Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union named the “Jamie Leverrier Fund.” The account number is 1587948.
Nickolson says the community has been wonderful.
“I can’t thank people enough,” she said.
“She’s a special girl. I can’t even explain how – there’s nobody more deserving.”
Megan has aspirations to be a movie star so, in the hospital, she’s been doing one of her favourite things – watching movies.
Nickolson explains that, at home, “she’s a dancing girl, she sings at the top of her lungs, she has her own little microphone. We have some videos of her where she wants to be a movie star. Her new favourite movie is Frozen. She’s watched it 11 times in the hospital. She loves movies.”