In the summer of 2015, Jack was experiencing terrible back pain. He was sent for an X-ray and bloodwork at the hospital in Canmore, where his family lives. The next day, the Godefroys’ lives were changed forever. Jack’s X-ray showed a collapsed vertebra, but even more concerning was an abnormality in his bloodwork – a possible sign of leukemia. The doctor had already contacted the Alberta Children’s Hospital and told Cheryl and Mark to take their son there immediately.
Jack was admitted to Emergency at the Alberta Children’s Hospital and the family was later introduced to the oncology team. They needed to do a bone marrow biopsy to confirm a diagnosis. Cheryl and Mark were trying to stay positive so as not to scare Jack, who was terrified of cancer – so terrified he had fainted during a Terry Fox presentation at his school earlier that year. But specialists soon confirmed the family’s worst fears: Jack had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The following days and weeks were filled with surgeries and chemotherapy and the family struggled to adjust to their new normal. Jack did not want to know about anything to do with his treatment path and Cheryl and Mark were heartbroken to see him slowly sinking into depression.
The months that followed were filled with ups and downs. Jack desperately missed going to school, hanging out with his friends and playing hockey. His school enrolled him in online classes, his parents took him to hockey practices and held him up until he gained enough strength to skate on his own. And the family skied – A LOT. Even though Jack was receiving chemo up to four days a week, he managed to ski 35 days last winter. It was the perfect outlet because he could be active without compromising his delicate immune system. It quickly became a lifeline.
In his treatment, Jack will have more than 120 chemotherapy injections and take more than 3,800 chemotherapy pills. He will continue treatment until December of 2018. There are limitations, but Jack has also had some incredible experiences, including standing on the blue line along with the starting lineup at a Calgary Flames game this past fall and raising more than $4,000 for the hospital along with his cousin Hayden through a head shave last summer. Because of their fundraising efforts, he and Hayden were presented with the 2016 Hero Award at the Foundation’s annual Kids Helping Kids celebration in September.