A GIRL WITH GOALS
Isla MacIntosh is so much fun to get to know. She’s energetic, enthusiastic, kind and vibrant. Like a lot of wonderful young people in our community she has dreams for the future and a varied list of sports she likes to play and things she’s excited to be learning in school. But unlike many of her peers Isla’s had challenges to face. In 2008 at the age of four, Isla was brought to CHEO’s emergency department where tests revealed she had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Her treatment protocol lasted over two years. She endured rounds of tests, numerous admittances to CHEO’s oncology ward, and the effects of both chemotherapy and radiation. It was a hard time.
It would be easy to say that this brave girl is doing well for someone who had been through so much at such a tender age, but that is just not accurate. Isla is doing well in life, period. She is curious, engaged, positive and above all healthy. When asked how she is feeling now the quick and sure answer is that she’s “feeling 100%.” Her yearly check-ups show her to be thriving and Isla makes her trips to CHEO knowing she’ll see some of the nurses who were part of her care team. “They’re amazing,” she says. Isla was too young to remember the worst parts of being a pediatric oncology patient at CHEO, but she holds on to the good parts, and remembers how the staff were able to “make the experience better.”
There’s no question Isla faces things with a positive outlook. She has to; she’s a goalie after all. When those pucks come flying at her head she’s not afraid, as she says, “I love it!” This humour and determination is part of what makes Isla such a great ambassador for the Sporting Life 10K Ottawa event this coming May. Who better to show us all how we can accomplish things than this girl who has faced some scary moments and come through with her spirits high. With her mom Gillian and sister Gwynn by her side and dad Jeff cheering them on, Isla will be running the 10K to raise money for oncology care and research at CHEO. And she has a challenge for the rest of us, she’s reached out to her family, her friends, and her hockey team to get them involved and now she’d really like to see other young people join in. She knows not everyone is a runner, and she admits, “10K is hard, but I’ll do it.”
What about you? Will you join Isla, her family and others who are putting their time and energy towards the care and treatment of CHEO’s most vulnerable patients? Every dollar raised supports the work of doctors, nurses, researchers and staff at CHEO and brings us one step closer to eradicating childhood cancers. Isla may not need CHEO anymore, but her generosity in giving back is humbling and inspiring. Please, support Isla as she runs 10K and support the children at CHEO who we hope will one day join her and fulfill our goal for all of CHEO’s children to be like Isla, kids…not patients.