Meet Mighty Makenna Stratton
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/10/2022 (226 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Every year, 48 children are diagnosed with cancer in Manitoba. One of those children lives right here in our community. Makenna Stratton has always been a loving, caring, and energetic child with many friends. In September 2021, she was so happy to be starting Grade 7 at Christ the King School with her peers. After nearly a month in class, however, she caught a flu virus, which, owing to COVID-19 restrictions, kept her home for two weeks.
Following what should have been her recovery, Makenna’s energy failed to return to normal, and she began complaining about headaches and back pain, all of which were completely out of character. On Oct. 20, her mother, Monique, brought her to Urgent Care at Victoria Hospital for a blood panel test, as it was believed Makenna may have been low in iron. Within an hour, they were directed to Children’s Hospital at Health Sciences Centre and given a sealed envelope to submit immediately upon arrival. They were set up in a room in Children’s emergency room with Dr. Stacy Chapman, who solemnly proceeded to tell them something no one wants to hear — Makenna had acute myeloid leukemia, AML.
This form of leukemia is a high-risk, aggressive, blood- and bone-marrow cancer that requires extremely aggressive treatment. She was admitted that day and set up on a clinical trial. Her chemotherapy began on Oct. 22nd. Before her started, she graciously opted to have her long hair shaved off and donated to make wigs for others undergoing chemotherapy. It was then that the reality of the journey began for Makenna and her family.
Her rigorous treatment plan was five cycles of adult-strength chemotherapy, just over 100 doses, and countless blood and platelet transfusions, all of which took six-and-a-half months to complete. She spent 203 days on CK5, the paediatric cancer ward at Children’s Hospital, and 13 days in pediatric intensive care, fighting for her life against a neutropenic infection. During this most difficult period, Makenna’s father, Geoff, continued working full time and running their household while her 15-year-old brother Tyler went to school. It was virtually impossible for them to focus on anything else; as it felt like their world was falling apart, and it would have, if not for the continual support of family, friends, neighbours, co-workers, schools, and their church. Throughout the winter, their doorstep was blessed with daily hot meals and care packages, and their driveway was regularly shovelled. Fundraisers and blood donor clinics were also organized by an extended network of friends and volunteers from many organizations.
While Makenna was enduring her battle, this overwhelming community support allowed her family the ability to focus on what they needed to do. One group in particular that supported Makenna’s cause was the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Support Group of Manitoba and its director, Naomi Fehr, who raised $27,000 in 24 hours after reading a post from Monique about her daughter’s situation in January of this year. The money raised fed all of the families in the pediatric cancer ward through to the end of February. Monique spent an entire quarantine period, 18 days straight, isolated alone in a single room, caring for her daughter.
After so many difficult months I am happy to say that “Mighty Makenna” as she came to be known for her courage and bravery, was discharged from CK5 on May 10 and she rang her remission bell that day.
Oct. 22 will mark the one-year anniversary of Makenna’s first chemotherapy treatment. Over the past year, Team Mighty Makenna Stratton has been participating in The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada’s Light the Night, a fundraising campaign for blood and bone-marrow cancer research. Please consider making a donation in Makenna’s name by Saturday, Oct. 22, to help her reach her fundraising goal. These proceeds will help others fighting cancer in our province, so that one day they too may ring their remission bells. For more information about making a contribution, call 1-833-222-4884, or visit their direct website link here at https://secure.llscanada.org/site/TR?pg=personal&fr_id=1359&px=1548401&fbclid=IwAR2e5o7_0nmJMh43EL8uSm8wTQXvAo9HZqfmLJsB7NoQGN3ax0CXdSxfggg&s_locale=en_CA
Lagimodière constituency report
Andrew Smith is the PC MLA for Lagimodière.