PICTOU – Reese Hawkins runs around her living room laughing and playing with her dolls. She’s a healthy toddler now, thanks to a life-saving stem cell transplant she received a year ago. Before a perfectly matched donor was found for the Reese, she spent a year battling acute myeloid leukemia.
Reese’s parents have organized a fundraiser walk in celebration of the one-year anniversary of the transplant. Walk for Reese will be a five-kilometre walk on Sunday, April 14, starting and ending at the Pressroom Pub and Grill in downtown Pictou. Donations will be accepted at the door for Team Reese, which is fundraising all year for the Light the Night walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which takes place in October.
Reese was named this year’s hero for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk in Atlantic Canada and will be the poster girl for the events in the Atlantic provinces.
As a thank you to the community for the support they’ve received since their daughter’s diagnosis, Reese’s family has arranged for door prizes, donated by local businesses at next Sunday’s event, including a dozen cooked lobsters.
“The community support has been amazing to say the least,” Reese’s mother Kora Hanrahan said. “People have been really helpful with the fundraising for the Leukemia Society but they’ve also been there for us on a personal level too with kind words, cards, help when we needed it and people are helpful at work too where we have the dental clinic and when we have to change hours, people have been accommodating.”
Hanrahan said it’s not uncommon for people in Pictou County to have the community behind them in times of need.
“The community has been very good to us and Pictou County is known, at least at the IWK, Pictou County is known for how well they rally around people in times of need, and that is the truth,” she said.
Hanrahan said the support they received from the community helped the family get through the whole process of diagnosis, finding a donor, receiving the transplant and recovery.
“It’s been a difficult year, but it was made easier by the support we got from community, friends family and the fact that Reese has been strong,” she said.
Hanrahan said Reese is doing well and continues to go to Halifax once a month to have her blood checked and she will have an extensive one-year checkup next week.
Hanrahan said while Reese probably won’t know why people are gathering for a walk next Sunday, she enjoys being around people and is always asking if she can go to a party, “so I don’t think she’ll be disappointed,” she said.
Registration for Walk for Reese will take place Sunday April 14 at the Pressroom Pub and Grill at 8:30 a.m. Refreshments and snacks will be available at the Pressroom following the walk.
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