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Vacationing at Marco Polo Land campground in Cavendish is a welcome break for Vicky Stretch McAdam and Tommy McAdam of Long Creek and their children, Kellan, 3, and Aislyn, 7. The family learned in late May that Kellan has leukemia. The tattoo on Tommy's arm is of Kellan, while Aislyn's image in underneath but not visible in the photo.
Vacationing at Marco Polo Land campground in Cavendish is a welcome break for Vicky Stretch McAdam and Tommy McAdam of Long Creek and their children, Kellan, 3, and Aislyn, 7. The family learned in late May that Kellan has leukemia. The tattoo on Tommy's arm is of Kellan, while Aislyn's image in underneath but not visible in the photo. -Jim Day

CAVENDISH- On this day, three-year-old Kellan McAdam is bursting with energy.

The rugged little lad excitedly urges a visitor to the family’s camper at Marco Polo Land campground to watch how fast he can go.

The blond-haired, blue-eyed tyke-sized tornado then tears along the length of the camper only to quickly head back as if to show there is still plenty left in the tank.

This is the frenetic fella that parents Vicky Stretch McAdam and Tommy McAdam, as well as Kellan’s older sister, Aislyn, 7, had been accustomed to having wear them down on a regular basis.

Back in late May, however, the boy’s boundless nature was dramatically curbed.

One morning he woke up limping. Not long after, he refused to walk. The pain was simply too much.

On May 28, Kellan was diagnosed with Pre (precursor) B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Kellan did not walk for over a month. He needed to be carried from Point A to Point B.

“It was devastating,’’ recalls Tommy.

“It really was.’’

Just three days after the diagnosis, chemotherapy was underway.

Over 28 days, an anticancer drug was injected into the boy’s chest through a tube. Kellan would soon come to call the loathed procedure “the poke”.

The treatment was draining. It was also painful.

“He wasn’t talking a lot,’’ says Tommy.

“He looked very defeated.’’

Three-year-old Kellan McAdam loves to be on the move, whether on his bike or just being busy. Sadly, leukemia is slowing the boy down, particularly chemotherapy treatments. -Jim Day
Three-year-old Kellan McAdam loves to be on the move, whether on his bike or just being busy. Sadly, leukemia is slowing the boy down, particularly chemotherapy treatments. -Jim Day

Kellan is too young to grasp what is happening. How do you explain to a three-year-old what it means for him to have cancer?

“We don’t tell him anything, to tell you the truth,’’ says Tommy.

“I’m sure to this day he has no idea what is going on.’’

Fighting cancer, though, will continue to grow into a routine part of Kellan’s childhood. The treatment plan for the boy spans three and a half years – a period both Tommy and Vicky believe will seem like an eternity.

What should help temper all the unpleasantness over that lengthy time for treatment is the odds of Kellan eventually beating the cancer. They are very good, in the 95 per cent range.

“We were very anxious for those results,’’ says Vicki. “It’s still a long road but we know after this we will be done.’’

So, the nastiness continues for the feisty boy, who turns four on Oct. 22.

Every 10 days, Kellan receives two chemo drugs intravenously.

In September, cancer treatment is expected to leave the youngster feeling quite ill. He will be vomiting. He will have no energy.

And he will lose his golden locks. Tommy plans to shave his own head when this happens.

Aislyn has also offered to cut off all of her lovely, long hair, but her parents know that would be traumatic for the seven-year-old girl.

There are plenty of other ways for her to show support to her cherished little brother.

Kellan’s Choice

Here are a few of three-year-old Kellan McAdam’s favourite things.

Food: Fettuccine Alfredo, called “white sketty” in Kellanese

Song: “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons

TV show: “Paw Patrol”

Movie: “Big Hero Six” (watched about 17 times while in hospital)

Superhero: Superman

The harsh hand delivered to the McAdams is not only an emotional blow but a financial hit as well.

Vicky, a registered nurse, has taken leave from work. Tommy, who works at Standard Aero in Summerside as a customer services manager, will take some time off to help ease Kellan back into daycare.

The many trips to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax are, and will continue to be, financially draining for the family.

The annual Currie Memorial Benefit Golf Tournament at Glen Afton Golf Club on Sept. 23 will certainly help with expenses.

Course owner Merina Currie says she always looks for a deserving family to benefit from the proceeds raised through the charity event.

“Join us in making a difference in this family’s life,’’ says Currie. “You will be glad you did.’’

Donations from those not participating in the tournament can be made by calling Merina at 902-626-8045.

Vicky and Tommy are grateful to Currie and others for helping them through such a challenging time.

“The support of our friends and family is more than we could ever ask for because there is no way we could do this on our own,’’ says Tommy.

Teeing off

The annual Currie Memorial Benefit Golf Tournament at Glen Afton Golf Club is a shotgun start at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23.

Proceeds go to the McAdam family of Long Creek to help with expenses for frequent travel to hospital in Halifax for treatment for threeyear-old Kellan who has leukemia.

Donations for those not participating in the tournament can be made by calling Merina at 902626-8045.

Format is twoperson best-ball. Cost is $160 per team for non-members and $120 per team for members. Register by calling the pro shop at 902-675-3000 or email at info@glenaftongolf.com.

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