Family thankful for YANA support during child’s cancer treatment

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Originally published by the Comox Valley Record, March 20, 2024

Connor McDowell – Comox Valley Record

For the first time since her diagnosis, Emma Hardie is going a year without a follow-up appointment. 

Her father Robert told the Record the family has travelled to Victoria and Vancouver several times to obtain treatment for Emma, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Now that Emma is in good health, Robert gives thanks to the You Are Not Alone (YANA) organization, which supported the family by covering some costs of repeated travelling.

“I have nothing but great things to say about YANA,” he said. “The stuff they do for the people in Comox Valley is incredible.” 

It began for the Hardie family before Emma was born – the mother, Leah, had to stay three weeks in 2014 in a Vancouver hospital leading up to Emma’s birth. Leah had a medical complication with her heart, so the birth was sensitive and needed special care on the mainland.

Robert said YANA supported his family at this time by repaying them for some daily spending. This included food and gas and more. Robert said it was a big help to the family as staying in Vancouver was costly. 

Emma was diagnosed with cancer three years later in 2017. 

The toddler had to undergo treatment twice – cancer had spread from her kidney to her lungs. This meant the family had to travel again to big cities like Vancouver and Victoria. 

It was at this time that the Hardies again sought the help of YANA and received it, said the dad. 

“All there medical appointments kept coming up to us again and again and again,” said Robert. “Our family doctor mentioned YANA… so I just contacted them and… they said they would love to help out.” 

It’s now been five years off treatment. Robert told the Record Emma will go her first year without a medical follow-up. She’s doing great now, he said, and he couldn’t be more thankful he said that a group like YANA was offering help to his family in trying times.

YANA (You Are Not Alone) is a not-for-profit organization in the Comox Valley that helps families who need to travel for medical treatment for their children or a pregnant mother.