Langley’s Alisha Openshaw had a pretty good Mother’s Day.
She got to sleep in, then spent the day with her boys, twins Bennett and Weston, and eldest son Jackson.
“They brought me breakfast in bed, then our oldest, Jackson, let me have a ‘yes’ day so anything I asked for, he said ‘yes’ to. Lots of snuggles and foot massages.”
One of their followers on social media “generously set up a meet-and-greet with Mickey Mouse for Saturday [and] he came by to visit with lots of gifts for the boys.”
It was a rare day of rest for Alisha, who estimates she averages at least three days a week on the road driving the twins in from their Langley home for cancer treatments at B.C. Children’s Hospital (BCCH) in Vancouver, a route so familiar and automatic that she can arrive without remembering any of the turns along the way.
On Monday, it was an “all day hospital day with both boys,” leaving home at 7 a.m. and not returning to 5 p.m.
“Bennett is starting his maintenance chemo which begins with a lumbar puncture and chemo straight into his spinal fluid, she explained. “Weston is getting his chemo bag changed.”
Her boys were both diagnosed with the same type of cancer, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, within a few months of each other, in 2022.
Since then, “it’s a whole new world,” she commented, one of doctors, nurses and specialists, of chemo and other medical procedures, and sometimes long stays in the hospital,
Weston, who was the first brother to be diagnosed, has had a “really rough go,” that included a six-week stay in hospital that ended just in time for Christmas, Alisha advised.
Currently, both Weston and Bennett are doing well, “other than them both being bald now,” but their hair is growing back, and the twins are becoming their usual rambunctious selves.
“They’re both wild boys,” she laughed.
A video of their hospital visits, provided to the Langley Advance Times, showed the brothers happily rampaging through the hallways at BCCH with a toy wagon, showing they know where the switch is to open automatic doors, and the route to the outdoor play area.
‘They’re very familiar with the hospitals and the treatments,” Alisha commented.
“They’ll be playing house, and [they will pretend] ‘you have to take your medicine’.”
The Mickey Mouse-loving twins enjoy playing with their older brother and cuddling with their ‘Nana’ – grandma and spending time with their ‘Auntie,’ Alisha’s sister.
Alisha has also found support from what she described as a community of moms in similar situations.
“We call ourselves the ‘momcologists,’ Alisha said.
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Alisha is telling her family’s story to support BCCH, which is the only hospital in the province devoted exclusively to the care of children and youth.
Donor funding, through the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation, goes to providing medical equipment, help fund leading pediatric research and clinical care, and enhancing facilities, programs and initiatives.
The current campaign theme is “join the mighty” – donate to help mighty mothers and mighty children.
“It has been a difficult journey at times, and I haven’t always felt very strong, but I have had to remain mighty,” Alisha commented.
“Staying mighty for my boys is knowing exactly when they need a big hug, or when to crack a silly smile. Mighty is telling myself it’s okay to walk away and have a long, hard cry. Mighty is knowing when to ask for help. As a mom, this is how I need to show up – staying mighty when things get tough.”
Contributions can be made at www.bcchf.ca.
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