Erin was diagnosed with AML in November 2018, when she was 18-years old and excited to be in her first year of university. She was just old enough to receive her treatment at Juravinski Hospital rather than at McMaster Children’s Hospital, which they think is actually a blessing because it would have been tough to be transferred in the midst of treatment.
Everyone describes Erin as calm and even-keeled, though when she is passionate about something she will definitely speak her mind! She is incredibly tough and resilient after going through what many people would deem hell. She suffered a blood infection, pneumonia, a lung infection and issues with her pic lines (she had two), as well as her Hickman. Through it she remained tough, and now she is just looking ahead. To meet Erin is to love her, her smile and easy going personality is infectious. Throughout her treatment there were some incredibly special moments as well. For example, being home for Christmas between her induction and her stem cell transplant, and her sister Kelly being a perfect stem cell match.
Erin’s mom, Linda, was the one who found Light the Night on social media, she reached out to ask a few questions, mostly ensuring that Erin, who was finishing treatment at the time, could manage the route. She says she wanted to walk it because she felt they were lucky; Erin was doing very well and she was feeling inspired. Linda has met so many people over the past year and a half. People who help to make the world smaller, people who have gone through similar experiences to Erin’s and her entire family. She believes that is the point of Light The Night as well, to know you are not alone.
2019 was the Day’s family first walk and luckily it took place during Erin’s reading week…Erin the resilient, was already back at school! They walked as a family including Erin’s cousins, Aunts and Uncle as well! They also knew people from another team who were relying on them for answers and support. Linda finds the experience of that first walk difficult to put into words. She says the evening felt hopeful and inspiring, and that she felt an overwhelming sense of community. They were especially moved as they walked past SickKids, again having that urge to share that sentiment of “you’re not alone” was very prevalent. Walking in Light the Night alongside Erin, and seeing all the other families walking as well means hope for a future and a cure. Looking around it is so clear that blood cancer does not discriminate. There needs to be more education, so that people can understand that it can happen to anyone. We all need to work together towards finding that cure.
The Days are hoping to get even more family members involved in 2020!