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Sooke, B.C., teen keeps giving back after fighting Stage 4 cancer


While Meredith Lecinana looks through a photo album remembering when her daughter was a baby, she can’t forget when her Lily became a patient.

“It’s very shocking,” Meredith says. “Nothing can prepare you for something like that.”

Lily Lecinana had just turned 10 when the rare, fast-growing blood cancer was diagnosed as Stage 4.

“I remember the doctor in my room,” Lily recalls. “I knew something was wrong because he had tears in his eyes.”

Lily was transported to a bigger hospital in a different city the next day, where she stayed for the next nine months.

“She was suffering a lot. In a lot of pain,” Meredith says. “It was really scary.”

Yet in between bouts of chemotherapy, Lily would perform countless acts of kindness for others — from singing uplifting karaoke songs to inspire the younger patients, to creating a hand-painted “joy jar” filled with gifts for the health-care workers.

“Lily has a gift of understanding and empathy,” says Krista Molia, who works at the hospital to create a more positive experience for young patients.

“(Lily) taught me to find a way to give back to others and cheer people on,” Krista smiles. “You can always be a cheerleader no matter where you are in life.”

Which is why when Lily returned home after active treatment in the hospital, she asked her mom to help her organize a bottle drive.

“I want to give back,” Lily recalls saying.

“It became bigger than what we could ever imagine,” Meredith says, showing pictures of bags of bottles towering over her daughter.

Lily says she raised more than $20,000 for two children’s cancer charities.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the community,” Lily says. “They have helped so much.”

Now five years cancer-free, Lily has never stopped giving back. She’s still collecting bottles and has bought thousands of dollars worth of toys, which she regularly donates to the hospital.

“A little something can make a big difference in these kids’ lives,” Meredith says.

Which is why Lily recently got her first job at 14, so she could buy items to donate with her own money. And why she’s striving to be a paediatric oncology nurse when she grows up — to inspire hope and healing for the kinds of kids of she once was.

“I do it for the brightness of their face, the smile that they have,” Lily says of giving back. “It’s like their fears go away and you’ve made their day.” Top Stories

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