West Quebec siblings battling cancer for a second time
Published Friday, March 2, 2018 4:54PM EST Last Updated Friday, March 2, 2018 6:35PM EST
There is a sad update on a story CTV Ottawa reported on a few months ago about two West-Quebec siblings, both battling the same aggressive cancer.
Both re-diagnosed with cancer just this week. It's the kind of story where all you can ask is why?
14-year-old Jacob Randell and his 5-year-old sister are both in CHEO tonight -- side by side in hospital beds with the families praying for a miracle.
It was perhaps an unusual request but this is an unusual situation. A photo on the Facebook site of Liliane Hajjar, Sophia and Jacob’s mother, shows the door of a hospital room at CHEO, with the names of both of her children on it, one above the other. Inside the room, Sophia Randell lies in one bed and Jacob Randell is in another, side by side.
"This is the most heartbreaking picture my eyes and heart have ever seen,” Liliane Hajjar wrote, "I'm broken. We are all broken."
CTV Ottawa interviewed Jacob and his family last April and the 13-year-old openly talked about his diagnosis.
"It was the size of a golf ball. Just imagine, a size of golf ball in my brain,” Jacob said.
He was just 5 years old when he was diagnosed with a rare aggressive brain cancer called “atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumour” or AT/RT, which unfortunately, was also hereditary. After Jacob's diagnosis, the entire family underwent genetic testing. 7-year-old Liam was negative but Sophia tested positive and was monitored since birth with regular MRI’s and ultrasounds. Then, at 5-years-old, she, too, was diagnosed with brain cancer.
“One child diagnosed with cancer is devastating,” Liliane Hajjar said last April, “but two is life changing.”
When we did that story last Easter, both kids were doing well and the family felt as though they could finally breathe. Then, earlier this week, Jacob was diagnosed with kidney carcinoma; days later, they learned Sophia’s tumor was back.
"This is not the life I imagined for them,” their mother wrote on her Facebook site, "but it is what it is and we will walk with them every step of the way."
The community is, too, setting up a Go Fund Me page to try to help the family with expenses and meals and calling on people to do Random Acts of Kindness and Prayers for the Randell kids. Jacob's school is also hositng a spaghetti fundraising dinner March 15 at Symmes Jr High and D'Arcy McGee School, 925 Boulevard du Plateau in Gatineau.