Toni Nicholls says she lives on the best street ever.
Neighbours in the lakes area of Lake Country rallied around her family by hosting a fundraiser in support of her young daughter with cancer.
Rylie was diagnosed with stage four aggressive neuroblastoma on July 20, 2021.
Toni said the fundraiser came at just the right time.
“A lot of times when families are going through these type of journeys, in the very beginning after the diagnosis there’s always like a big push… That’s when the action happens because there’s the shock factor of a new diagnosis,” Toni noted. “But treatments and things like that go on for a long time. Many times we stop hearing from people, there’s not much traction after the first couple months, but we’ve been very fortunate that the timing of this little fundraiser and event was perfect. Rylie is still battling as hard as she can, she is such a fighter, and she just went through the most extreme type of treatment. That was really, really hard for all of us.”
Rylie’s treatments often take her to Vancouver for long periods of time. Toni said money raised allows her husband to take time from running his business so their family of four can spend time together.
“It helps us with just covering all of our day-to-day costs. My husband has his own business, he gets no extra coverage if he takes a week or two off to be down here. I had to stop working completely as well.”
Neighbour Tammie Slater collected donations at the liquor store where she works totaling $703, a silent action accumulated $1462, plus another $550 in gas cards for her husband and son to visit them in Vancouver.
“Rylie and I haven’t been home since Christmas and I feel like that was such a huge morale booster too.”
The family continues to collect donations through GoFundMe to help with travel costs and daily life.
So, how is Rylie doing?
In December, the three-year-old had surgery to remove a solid tumor and continues to undergo various treatments.
By January 2022 Rylie had undergone six rounds of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy in Toronto. Toni said the test that followed showed most of the cancer cells were gone.
“Since that scan she’s had two high-dose chemos, so very extreme high dose chemos where to recover from it she had to have stem cell transplants…It is probably one of the more dangerous and harsh treatments that the little kids can go through, but she did the tandem – so the back to back of those. She’s doing good now, but we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”
Rylie is finished with chemotherapy, but will continue to need radiation for six weeks before six months of immunotherapy.
“It is positive. We are very optimistic.”