NICKY: Age 9
Nicky is an energetic 9 year old boy who loves lacrosse, paintball, his dogs, and pizza. After developing headaches and vomiting, he was diagnosed with Ependymoma (a rare, malignant, brain tumour) when he was just 3 years old. He underwent a nine-hour brain surgery at SickKids in September of 2013 (to remove the now golf-ball sized tumour) followed by induction chemotherapy, 33 radiation treatments, and then another four cycles of chemotherapy. The surgery left Nicky with total hearing loss in his left ear and weakness on the left side of his body. He finished his initial treatment in the spring of 2014.
Early in 2016 when Nicky was only five years old he began having episodes of vomiting again, and it was determined that his tumour had recurred. He had another brain surgery that May. This time around he had a much harder time recovering from surgery. He spent a week at SickKids receiving OT, PT, and SLP care and was able to regain his ability to swallow and walk. That week was probably one of the only times he EVER complained about what he was going through. This surgery was followed by another 33 radiation treatments, but this time it was full cranial and spinal radiation. He and his family spent 6 weeks living at Ronald McDonald House in Toronto so he could be close to Princess Margaret Hospital for his treatment.
Unfortunately in mid-2019, his tumour again recurred and he is currently undergoing a year-long trial of experimental chemotherapy. He will be getting MRI scans every few months to assess the effectiveness of the chemo, and to determine if another surgery will be required. Despite all of this, Nicky is now an incredibly mature and positive 9 year old. He is in grade four and is doing well with his studies. He is active with Scouts Canada as a cub and also acts as a volunteer with the local MedVents unit. He plays paintball, loves camping with his family, and is an adopted member of the Toronto Rock Lacrosse team. If you ask Nicky about what life would be like if he didn't have cancer, he would rhyme off a list of all the cool things he wouldn't have gotten to do if it weren't for h is diagnosis. He is truly an incredible young man.