Written for Mediaplanet’s Neurological Conditions campaign published in the National Post on March 11, 2016.
When some people look at seven-year-old Jaxson, they see a brain tumour survivor who is now unable to breathe, eat, or stand on his own, but Candace Breynaert simply sees her son.
Jax was just a toddler when he started vomiting profusely and losing developmental milestones, to the point that he could barely lift his head off the floor. His family decided enough was enough and took him to the hospital, where the tiny two-year-old had a seizure in his mother’s arms. After extensive scans, physicians found out why. Jax had a medulloblastoma tumour, the most common form of childhood brain cancer.
“It was heart wrenching,” says Breynaert. Jax endured surgery and high-dose chemotherapy, and was eventually declared tumour-free — but eight months later, his cancer returned.
“Hearing it the second time, that was the worst feeling,” says Breynaert, who left her job to care for Jax full-time. “You’re not left with many options because you’ve pretty much exhausted them the first time around.”