Tragedy-stricken family fights to save their son
Published Monday, September 20, 2010 1:39PM PDT
Anna and Gardie Warne call their son Nolan a miracle baby. In 2007, the family found out they were expecting their first child. But the good news was bittersweet.
Just a week before finding out she was pregnant, Anna had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
While pregnant, Anna had a mastectomy and six rounds of chemotherapy. Nolan survived but was born prematurely weighing just 3 pounds and 13 ounces.
Because he was born with neurological issues that affect his muscles, vision and hearing, he spent the first six-months of his life struggling to survive at BC Children's Hospital in Vancouver.
His parents watched, helpless, as their son endured three surgeries and stopped breathing seven times in his first year.
"We would spend 18 hours a day at his bedside," Anna said.
Nolan's father remembers the terrifying ordeal.
"I get the phone call from the hospital. ‘Nolan's blue. Get up here.' She's crying and she's frantic on the phone," he said.
Nolan's diagnosis of low muscle tone and other developmental conditions requires around-the-clock care that he will need for the rest of his life.
But the two-year-old has an amazing will to live and a combination of treatments has shown remarkable progress.
Unfortunately Anna's cancer hasn't shared the same type of prognosis. Despite chemotherapy and aggressive treatment, the cancer has spread to her lungs, liver and bones.
"I'm at stage four and there is no stage five," she said. "Anyone who has a sick child knows your world falls apart. And these two things were happening simultaneously."
Despite these two life-shattering events, the Warne family is not giving up hope.
"This is our life. This is what we do," Anna said.
They have found an innovative new therapy for Nolan called the Annat Banuielle Method that is making a noticeable difference in their son's progress.
"Little victories," Anna said. "Baby steps, but they are baby steps forward."
But the therapy is expensive and the family has to travel to Seattle every few weeks for it. Between Nolan's physiotherapy and Anna's search for new cancer treatments, the Warnes' medical costs have become completely unmanageable.
Watching the family suffer from so much heartbreak has caused friends of the Warnes to leap into action.
They have organized a benefit concert and silent auction to raise money this Saturday in downtown Vancouver to help with the family's skyrocketing medical costs.
"Friends have stood up and said, ‘This is what we are doing for you, like it or not,'" Anna said.
The money raised will make a real difference to a family that desperately needs help. It will also provide a legacy for Nolan. Should Anna lose her battle with cancer, he will lose the loving care she provides for him, and the Warnes want to ensure he will be taken care of financially.
For now, Anna and Gardie are focusing on treasuring every moment and looking forward to creating new memories with their son.
"We are so happy to have Nolan in our lives. We're very lucky to have him," said Gardie.
If you would like to help the Warne family:
Donate in person at any Royal Bank to Account #5080221, Transit #08280.