Glowing for childhood cancer survivors like Jackson

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Jackson Mitchell gets some help from his mom, Dana, as he signs the guest book in Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley's office.

Dana Mitchell knows how important it is to talk to someone who understand what living with childhood cancer is like.

That’s why the Oil Springs mother, and her son, Jackson, were with officials from ChildCan when they met with Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley about Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Jackson, 8, was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour in September 2021. It was a long road to recovery, but the self-proclaimed goof was all smiles and talking about his upcoming baseball tournament when he met with the mayor.

Dana and family members have not spoken publicly about Jackson’s illness saying it’s his story to tell when he’s ready. And the family’s cancer journey is clearly painful.

“It’s heartbreaking,” she said adding it is difficult putting “your whole world” in the hands of doctors you have just met.

Dana said they had amazing support from the community, including Jackson’s school, Lambton Centennial, which created T-shirts to raise money and support the family.

“It just sort of felt when you put them on that everybody was there, just to support you and to help you. And you knew you were in people’s thoughts and prayers, and they were there to support you through it.”

As good as her family, friends and community were, Dana said ChildCan met a different need for her since they knew exactly what families dealing with childhood cancer are going through. The charity gives families of children with cancer with financial and emotional support. For the Mitchell’s, that friendly face asking how they were doing was important.

“It’s just somebody checking in …they know what you’re going through and know what it’s like.”

ChildCan’s Amy Mathias says one in four children will be diagnosed with cancer in their lives.

This week, cities like Sarnia will light up their offices in gold to acknowledge families dealing with cancer in an event called Glow Gold. Childcan is also handing out gold ribbon pins as a reminder of the families dealing with cancer.

The recognition and support from the community is something Dana appreciates saying it’s a message to the children, “You rest, you fight and we’ll be there to support you and send you all of our love and prayers.”