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Local Mesachie Lake boy and his family need help as he battles leukaemia

Jaxon Zalinko: Young boy faces intense three-year period of chemotherapy
Jaxon Zalinko

Jaxon Zalinko is a young five-year-old described to be “full of life.”

Back in March, he started to cough and started looking slightly pale, with a doctor determining it just to be a small spot of the flu.

Yet on April 9, he and his family would receive a call from the doctor to dash to Cowichan District Hospital in Duncan where X-Rays and blood samples were taken.

With hemoglobin levels at an all-time low, Jaxon and his parents, Paul and Rachel, set off by helicopter to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.

After further tests on April 10, Jaxon was diagnosed with leukaemia and the family now face a period of three years full of chemotherapy for the kid.

“The first month is what they call the induction period which includes frequent visits to the hospital,” said dad Paul from their Children’s Hospital location. “We’re probably here for about a month. The trajectory is positive that we’ll be able to come home to the Island after that. Then there’s two and a half years where we’ll be giving him daily oral chemotherapy.”

The family lives at Camp Imadene, a Christian bible camp in Mesachie Lake, where Paul is the facilities manager on-site.

Jaxon has two older brothers, Max and Marty.

“The support we’ve had so far has been overwhelming,” he said. “We’ve lived in a few places and met a lot of people, and now all of those networks are coming together and it’s very humbling. We’ve received social media messages of support, phone calls, emails, all that have been hugely supportive. We’re feeling incredibly blessed.

“Jaxon has Pre-B A.L.L. (Acute Lymphoblastic Luekemia). Lots of parents and kids have things that they don’t know what it is. That has to be more difficult as those people are asking questions everyday and it’s sad. We know and we have hope.”

The family has a fundraising webpage, set up by Paul’s co-workers at Camp Imadene, on where over $11,000 has been donated so far of a $20,000 goal.

“He is responding well to treatments so far, but still has a few new treatments awaiting during this week. How he responds to these treatments will determine whether he will stay directly at BCCH for the next month or discharged.  If discharged, Jaxon may still have to stay in the Vancouver area so he can come to BCCH for regular testing and blood work.  If the doctors feel that Jaxon is responding very favourably to the treatments they may decide that he can do some checkups and blood work at hospitals on the Island (Victoria or Nanaimo).  So, he may be back on the Island as early as the end of next week and as late as another month from now,” Paul added in an email to the Gazette.

“We have a very supportive family on both sides. My sister had leukaemia when she was seven and was treated at BCCH about 33 years ago. She celebrated her 40th birthday yesterday, so this gives us hope that Jaxon will celebrate many more birthdays after successful treatment. We have had wonderful friend visits here at the hospital, encouraging social media connections and constant prayers which have given us great peace. Our spiritual family at Cowichan Lake Baptist Church have been fervent in supporting us through prayer and encouragement.  They have been a very caring family for us over these past almost three years and continue to show their care through love and support during this time.”

Paul also added significant heartfelt thanks to chief Gary Eve and everyone at Mesachie Lake firehall as well as Jesus Christ stating, “I simply cannot imagine going through something like this without it (Jesus and the Lord).”

Numerous fundraisers will be held across the Cowichan Lake area in the near future.

“There will be fundraisers happening around town so please support that,” Eileen Pilkington from the Lions Club said at the Lake Days Society meeting on Monday night. “This kind of thing is terrible for an adult, so it must be wicked for a five year-old. All profits go to the family and it’s an absolute necessity.”