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Battling tough times as a family

Four-year-old takes on cancer with the help and support of his family, friends, and community

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The Ray family has come together as Conor, 4 (right), goes through the battle of a lifetime against acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

JORDAN THOMPSON/CANSTAR COMMUNITY NEWS Enlarge Image

The Ray family has come together as Conor, 4 (right), goes through the battle of a lifetime against acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Photo Store

Just under a year ago, Morgan Pisni-Ray received the most terrible news a parent can hear — her child was sick, and there was nothing she could do about it.

Just five days before Christmas 2012, Pisni-Ray’s then three-year-old son, Conor Ray, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Her world came crashing down, Pisni-Ray said.

"It felt like an out-of-body experience at the time," Pisni-Ray said. "You just look at your child and you can’t just make it all go away. You’re left wondering if you’re going to have your child in your life any longer."

Now Pisni-Ray has teamed up with propertydealtoday.com, and its "social causes" page, to collect votes and raise money through social media. So far, the campaign has raised more than $630 for CancerCare Manitoba’s pediatric oncology department.

Pisni-Ray said her son’s time at the CancerCare center has been world-class.

"When we look around at CancerCare and staying on the ward, the cancer community is an amazing community of people," Pisni-Ray said.

It all started a year ago when Conor battled a couple rounds of bronchitis and testing revealed it was a lot worse. Doctors at CancerCare immediately put Conor on a treatment plan that will leave Conor facing rounds of chemotherapy until 2016.

"It’s kind of an amazing treatment, they’ve got it down to a science," Pisni-Ray said. "They have a very precise recipe that they follow and they don’t deviate from it."

Pisni-Ray said they are lucky because Conor’s diagnosis has had a lot of success with treatment.

"There are so many other kids fighting to get by every single day and we really do feel fortunate," Pisni-Ray said.

Despite that, life has changed for the Fort Garry family, which also includes Conor’s little sister, Finley. Pisni-Ray thought Finley may become resentful of Conor, but the opposite has happened.

"We call her a super-sib," Pisni-Ray said. "She has been absolutely amazing. She has had to give me up for all these hospital stays… she has been through it all with us, she has been at every appointment with Conor, she has come to visit him in the hospital whenever she can. She’s been amazing."

Pisni-Ray said without friends and family in the early stages, it would have been hard to keep everything together.

"Our friends and family did all our shopping and delivered it and made sure that we were safe," Pisni-Ray said. "So we could keep our focus on the kids and keep their lives as normal as possible."

Pisni-Ray and one of her friends also created and sold Infinite Courage bracelets for $10 each. They raised a total of $5,000 for the pediatric oncology department.

Seeing the charity of people has changed Pisni-Ray’s world view.

"It’s such a cliché, but it really does restore my faith in humanity," Pisni-Ray said. "You just see the best in people. People really want to help and you have to allow him to help, that’s the only way you’re going to get through, it really does take a village."

For more information on the bracelets and Conor’s journey, visit morganandcolin.com. To help raise money for CancerCare’s pediatric oncology department, visit and click on "social causes" at propertydealtoday.com and then click on "Infinite Courage."

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