Four-year-old Roane Abbott-Haines (centre) was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia last month. Roane

Community rallies behind boy with leukemia

On Aug. 25, Erin Abbott-Haines’ worst nightmare came true.

On Aug. 25, Erin Abbott-Haines’ worst nightmare came true.

That was the day her four-year-old son Roane was diagnosed with cancer.

For the past few weeks, Roane complained about headaches and dizziness. After ruling out a number of things that could cause him to be sick, Abbott-Haines took Roane to the doctor, who ordered a blood test. Shortly after, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a form of cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many immature white blood cells.

“You know in the movies when you see a person collapse to the ground, I’ve never done that before and I can’t imagine many reasons to do that in my life. After collapsing, I was being held up by my husband and kept thinking ‘How can this be happening to us? How can this be happening to him’?” said Abbott-Haines, an Esquimalt resident and stay-at-home mother. “It’s truly my worst nightmare.”

It was an especially heartbreaking diagnosis for Abbott-Haines, who battled the same form of cancer two decades ago when she was just 13 years old.

As a child, Abbott-Haines had a number of flu-like symptoms leading up to her diagnosis. She had leg and stomach pain, bruised easily and found it difficult to walk. After being diagnosed, she received intense treatment over a two-and-a-half-year period during which she lost her hair, but survived.

However, the treatments have had long-term effects on Abbott-Haines’ body, many problems she continues to deal with today. Earlier this year, she had reconstructive surgery on her ankle and her right ankle will need to be replaced in the future.

Now, Abbott-Haines is reliving a part of her past she hoped to never repeat.

A day after Roane’s diagnosis, Abbott-Haines packed up the family — her husband Andrew, their two-year-old son Kaylo and their cat — and were on their way to B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver for treatment.

Roane, who Abbott-Haines describes as a “sweet and sensitive boy with a wild side to him,” will receive the same treatment that his mother received 20 years ago, which will involved travelling back and forth between Vancouver and Victoria over the next three years.

Despite being a childhood cancer survivor, Abbott-Haines admits she’s worried about the long-term affects the treatment will have on her son, both physically and mentally.

“I know it’s going to be a really rough go and there’s going to be a lot of stuff to work through, but I don’t want it to harden him,” she said. “I hope he stays just as sensitive.”

Since news broke of Roane’s diagnosis, the community has rallied to help the young family.

More than $17,000 has been raised through an online fundraising campaign to help with the family’s travel expenses, extra child care, food and unexpected medical expenses.

“I don’t know how we would be doing this without our community. Because of the GoFundMe page, I can stay until at least Christmas. That means I can breathe again,” Abbott-Haines said, adding more resources are needed to be redistributed to childhood cancer.

“Everyone thinks it can’t happen to them. Even I thought it couldn’t happen to me again. Rates of leukaemia are rising and although cure rates are rising too, it has to get better. Right now we’re saving lives but we’re also disabling kids in order to save them. There has to be a better option. I have to believe there’s a better option. (Childhood cancer) is a problem that needs to be dealt with.”

To donate to the campaign visit GoFundMe and search Roane’s Medical Fund by Erin Orion.

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Felix Townsin, shown here with his sister, Lexi, who died on Oct. 19, 2019. Felix is a big part of a family initiative aimed at finding a cure for Blau Syndrome. (Photo contributed by the Townsin family)
Quest to cure Blau syndrome a family affair

John Stubbs student produces film for late little sister Lexi

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Newly public Emily Carr painting depicts well-known Victoria view

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

An incident on Sooke Road is slowing traffic Wednesday evening. (Courtesy of Mona Hazeldine)
Sooke Road incident snarls evening traffic

Witnesses report two-vehicle collision

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Soccer player Ethan Finnigan juggles the ball at Oak Bay High. The Grade 12 student was injured much of last year and was relying on his senior year to score a scholarship and play at university. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
High school athletes remain on sidelines across B.C.

Recruiting for university on hiatus, future unknown

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 27

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Cowichan Search and Rescue set up near the Silver Bridge in Duncan on Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, 2020 to rescue a dog from the Cowichan River. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Search and Rescue save dog from icy Cowichan River

Search and Rescue’s swiftwater team was called in

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read