Coquitlam family struggling to make ends meet after leukemia diagnosis

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Image: Misty Hamelin

A Coquitlam mother is struggling to pay her bills after her 11-year-old son was diagnosed with leukemia in April of last year, and is appealing to the public for help.

Misty Hamelin told Vancity Buzz her son Taylor has been in and out of hospital for the past 10 months as he gets treatment for his cancer. He recently has been back in for a month following a bone marrow transplant.

“He’s in severe pain in his knees,” Hamelin said. “And they’re not sure if it’s graft-versus-host disease from his transplant, which can cause some really bad side-effects.”

Graft-versus-host disease is an inflammatory disease that occurs when the body attacks the new bone marrow after transplantation, which typically results in late treatment-related complications.

Life has been difficult for Misty and her boyfriend this past year. Misty gave birth to twins back in June of 2015 and she said she never gets time to see them between hospital visits, much less be able to work.

Misty is primarily surviving off of employment insurance. Her boyfriend is unable to work because he’s caring for their baby twin girls while Misty spends her days and nights sitting by Taylor’s side.

“We have rent and a car payment – we had to get a different vehicle because you can’t drive a little Volkswagen Bug with three children anymore,” she said.

“I don’t even know how I get through some days.”

Misty said Taylor’s prognosis isn’t entirely known at the moment. They’re waiting on some MRI and biopsy results to come back to make sure his bone marrow is still clear.

Taylor’s grandmother has set up a GoFundMe page to try and raise money for the struggling family to help relieve some of their financial problems. She’s hoping to raise $20,000 for the family so they can pay their bills and remain by Taylor’s side a little bit longer.

If you would like to help the Hamelins, click here.

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Lauren Sundstrom Lauren is a Staff Writer and Projects Assistant at Vancity Buzz. She is a graduate of BCIT's Broadcast and Online Journalism program. She loves reporting on breaking news and lifestyle content. If you feel like you have a story that needs to be told, fire her a tweet.
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