Jaylyn Eastman is beginning to live life like a normal 5 year old.
The Sarnia girl is the granddaughter of Tammy and Doug Clark of Petrolia. She was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer when she was three. By the time doctors discovered why Jaylyn was ill, tumors filled her young body.
Doctors performed surgery and there has been lots of experimental chemotherapy. Through it all, the Eastman family was supported by people in Petrolia who sent money and gifts to the family and Jaylyn.
It has been a long two years, but Clark says the little girl who was given just a four percent chance of survival is now doing well.
Jaylyn is now in school for the first time in her life and is having a great time. “For a while she had anxiety leaving her mom,” says Clark “but now she has made friends.
“She’s sassy and she’s loving baseball and the boys (her twin brothers) bug her and she likes to go for sleepovers with her friend, Emmy. She’s enjoying life and being able to do the things that others her age can.”
And Jaylyn recently had the chance to fulfill her wish of meeting the Little Mermaid during a trip to Disney World in Florida sponsored by the Make a Wish Foundation. “It was her wish to go to the castle and to meet Ariel.”
The whole family went and Clark says Jaylyn had a wonderful time.”
Jaylyn will get another chance to be a princess for a day during a fundraiser in August which has already been sold out.
The little girl will always have to deal with the fact she has cancer, but Clark says right now she’s looking forward to a summer full of baseball and swimming. And Clark remains hopeful that her remarkable granddaughter will continue to defy the odds. “Why can’t she be the one kid that they say ‘There was a little girl with a four percent chance and now she’s 21.’”
Clark says the family’s optimism about the future comes, in part, from the support of the community.
“People have been really supportive – people we didn’t even know,” says Clark. “It has changed us…now if people ask for donations and it is anything for children, I just open my wallet.”