Eli is eight years old and lives in Prince George.
He's a going concern, full of love and energy and spunk, just like any other Northern BC kid.
He loves cars, super heroes and Paw Patrol.
Eli was born with Down Syndrome and because of that his health is always closely monitored for potential issues.
The day after his eighth birthday the world stopped turning for parents Michael and Dana Daykin and sister Katie when Eli's routine bloodwork brought alarming results and the order came over the phone to immediately take him to hospital.
Eli had leukemia. And that's when the world sped up in a hurry.
Within hours of being rushed to UHNBC, Eli was flown to BC Children's Hospital to start immediate life-saving treatment.
Dana went with Eli, Michael stayed home with Katie.
It's been like that for the last year and just the other day Eli underwent his last treatment for leukemia that specifically targets those with Down Syndrome.
The protocols were all in place, the battle would be won, but a battle it was.
"Watching anybody go through chemotherapy is heart wrenching, watching your child go through it is... yeah," Michael said.
The first attack against leukemia using chemotherapy is extreme and that's the knock-it-down phase, Michael added. Once that is done the process gets a bit easier but the child is still very ill.
"The analogy that was given to me is that the first phase of treatment against this type of leukemia is cutting down the tree, the second is digging up the roots, the third phase is preparing the soil for the roots to grow back and the final phase is making sure just the good roots are growing back." Michael said.
It's not been easy during the process as Eli had to deal with many side effects of treatment, Michael added.
"Eli has done really well and he's been such a trooper," Michael said. "He's gone through - I don't even know how many rounds of pokes and biopsies and everything - it's been quite the journey."
Eli spent a year at BC Children's Hospital and this week he finally gets to come home. But he's not done with it yet or perhaps it's better to say leukemia isn't done with him yet and it won't be for a while.
There's a less-intense treatment protocol of what's called 'maintenance' with routine trips back to the hospital down south for the next two years. But that comes with a lot of hope.
Through it all, Mom Dana lived at Ronald McDonald House for 350 days of the last 365. Michael and Katie went to visit as much as they could but because of the pandemic it wasn't easy as the priority was to keep Eli safe. Michael was only able to visit eight times.
There were a lot of phone calls, video chats and the like to keep connected.
Michael kept working during that time to pay the bills, Katie spent a lot of time with her grandparents.
And the community has supported the family through this terrible time in their lives.
Looking ahead to resume as normal a life as they can the family thanks family, friends and the community for the support they've received throughout the ordeal.
BC Childrens' Hospital has saved Eli's life and Michael shared their story in support of BC Children’s Hospital Foundation (BCCHF), which is the only hospital in BC devoted just to the care of children. It is one of the few pediatric medical centres in North America with a world-class acute care centre, research institute, mental health facility and rehabilitation centre, all on a single campus. Leading experts at BC Children’s Hospital provide a specialized level of expertise, innovative therapies and kid-focused care that can’t be found anywhere else in the province, including the sickest and most seriously injured.
The Choices Lottery that supports the BC Children's Hospital has recently launched it's fundraising efforts for 2022.
Ticket sales for the Choices Lottery run until April 7. Individuals can purchase their tickets online at https://bcchildren.com, by phone, 604-692-2333, toll-free at 1-888-887-8771, in-person at London Drugs and Save-On Foods.
For more information visit www.bcchildren.com.