Mother’s Day is going to be extra special for Nykia Simon, who has that much more to celebrate with her five-year-old daughter Chloe.
It was four years ago that Chloe Dietrich was diagnosed with liver cancer at just nine months old. She had to have major surgery to remove a tumour the size of a golf ball. After the surgery, there were complications, including infection, and Chloe needed plasma.
The experience flung her parents and older sibling into a whirlwind of emotions and stress that no family should ever have to go through, said Nykia.
But now that her daughter is four years cancer-free, Nykia is ready to find ways to help families newly diagnosed and experiencing the same feeling of panic they went through.
“I know how much time you spend at Children’s (Hospital) and how sometimes something like a home-cooked meal is just what you need,” she said.
After spending so much time at B.C. Children’s Hospital and getting to know other parents there, many families reached out to her asking questions about her experience and what to do.
“It got me thinking that maybe I should write a children’s book, from Chloe’s perspective about what it is like to be diagnosed and going through treatment and staying in hospital,” she said.
“She was so brave and made us be brave. Cancer is the number one killer of children. That’s why, sadly, a book like this is so needed.”
Following a cancer diagnosis like Chloe’s there are hematologists and oncologists to meet, many tests to be done and unknowns about surgery and pain management.
“There is so much information thrown at you, it can make you numb. But you have to be do your own research, get involved, no matter how overwhelming,” she said.
“You have to advocate for your child because everyone can make mistakes, even doctors and nurses.
On April 27, Chloe Dietrich celebrated her fifth birthday with her family and friends, including a new little brother, notes Nykia.
“She’s all over him, trying to pick him up and love him. She’s a sassy little thing. And I can’t believe she is going into kindergarten.”
Another milestone for Chloe is a dream trip to Disney World this Christmas, courtesy of Make A Wish.
“She is beyond excited. She is going to meet princesses and we get a fast pass to the rides. It’s going to be very special,” she said.
“The woman and mother I am today all came from the strength that Chloe had during her treatment. Nothing gets to me. Every day is a blessing and watching my kids grow is truly the ultimate prize,” said Nykia.