‘Ottawa’ Cayley Family Joins the Lemonade Standemonium
Thomson Cayley is ready to change the world. And at the tender age of 12, he is prepared to do it one glass of lemonade at a time.
Thomson and his 10-year-old sister, Sydney, are both taking part in the 4th annual Lemonade Standemonium, joining hundreds of other local kids in raising funds for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.
“Thomson got quite interested after we went to the Lemonade Standemonium night at the Sens game this past February,” said Michael Cayley, Thomson’s dad. “He immediately signed up to host a stand and started the conversation at his school.”
Thomson was so driven to make a difference that he volunteered to become a member of the student group that runs fundraising activities at Hopewell Avenue Public School. And now, thanks to his team’s efforts, the school is hosting a stand on June 3.
For Thomson and Sydney, it will be their first time taking part in the Lemonade Standemonium and they are doing it in honour of their mom, Andrea, who was diagnosed last year with Stage 4 lung cancer. The news came just days before Sydney’s birthday.
“I had a cough for a few months and it just wouldn’t go away,” Andrea explained. “We had just gotten back from a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia in March, and I realized that I wasn’t recovering from the jet lag the way I normally did. I was exhausted, and started having more symptoms than just the cough.”
That’s when doctors started investigating and confirmed Andrea had lung cancer, and that it had spread throughout her body.
“I was 47 years old and had no history of smoking or of lung cancer in my family, so I was quite broadsided when the doctors told me,” Andrea said. “I was diagnosed a week before Sydney’s ninth birthday.”
She and her husband decided to hold off on telling the kids until after their daughter’s birthday. That’s when they sat them down and broke the news.“They knew I wasn’t feeling well — that I was having to rest more often and was feeling worse and worse,” Andrea said. “We told them we had gotten the tests back from the doctors and that it wasn’t pneumonia, that it was cancer.”
For Thomson, it was all too real; just a few short years ago he had watched his grandmother battle the same disease. And Sydney immediately understood how bad the news was, based on her big brother’s reaction.
In order to help the kids deal with the very grown-up situation they were facing, Andrea and Michael reached out to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation and found out about the CLIMB program.
Children’s Lives Including Moments of Bravery (CLIMB) is a six-week group coaching program offered by the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation for children who have a parent diagnosed with cancer. Conversation and art are used to help children express complex feelings. Through the program they learn about cancer and its treatments using kid-friendly terms, are better equipped to express and manage anger appropriately, and improve communication with other family members. The program is facilitated by one of the cancer coaches.
“Out of all the help we sought out, the CLIMB program was by far the best in terms of helping the kids connect with their peers and opening up the conversation at home,” Michael said. “By talking to Thomson and Sydney about what happened during the program and introducing the general themes they covered, it stimulated a conversation around our dinner table.”
Today, thanks to immunotherapy, Andrea is doing well — and looking forward to spending the summer days hosting lemonade stands with her kids. Based on her latest scan results, the cancer that had metastasized outside her lungs is now gone, and the tumour inside her lungs has shrunk by almost 50 per cent.
Funds raised at this year’s Lemonade Standemonium help support programs like CLIMB and Cancer Coaching for families who are affected by cancer. Thanks to the generous sponsors — Cardel Homes, Palladium Insurance and Accora Village — 100 per cent of the funds raised goes directly to the cause. You can register your stand today at www.ottawacancer.ca/lemonade. Cardel Homes will donate $50 for every stand registered. For more information about CLIMB or the Lemonade Standemonium please contact the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation at 613-247-3527.
This story was provided by the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation for commercial purposes. Postmedia had no involvement in the creation of this content.