Visiting the hospital every Friday has been a routine for the Jardeleza family for months. Their youngest son, Zander, was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in May 2018 and has had treatments since then.
But, on May 10, the family received a relieving surprise when the hospital called and said they did not need to come for their regular visit; Zander’s liver enzyme reading had dropped. This positive news was welcome after a year of battling the disease.
This was the happy atmosphere we walked into on Friday.
Franky and Zoe Jardeleza have had a challenging past year. Last May, Zander started having low-temperature fevers that would run for days at a time and disappear. After taking Zander to the hospital for blood tests, Zander was diagnosed with AML. This type of leukemia happens very quickly and is more common in adults.
From May through to October, Zander underwent treatments at the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation while the family waited for a stem cell transplant. When a matching transplant was found, Zander had to wait another month until he recovered from infection to successfully receive the transplant. Zoe has not been able to work while caring for Zander and his nine-year-old brother. Franky had to take a leave of absence from work to drive the family back and forth to the hospital. Costs for Zander’s medication have also been high—almost a full month’s mortgage payment itself!
They have had some support through Franky’s employee benefits, but the costs have still stressed their budget. It’s also been a challenging transition for Zander and his brother. Zander has been back at home since December but because of his weakened immune system, he has limited contact with other children, only playing on the playground when no other children around.
Zander will have to stay in Calgary for the next year and if his treatments continue to go well, the family will be able to travel outside of Alberta in two years. But through all of these trials and hardships, Zander and his family are wonderfully resilient and are looking forward to taking Zander to the Philippines one day.
Franky and Zoe have such positive spirits and could only thank everyone who has helped their family through their challenging time. We were so inspired after spending the day with the Jardeleza family and we were so honoured that we could offer some more happy news with a cheque to cover their housing payments. We wish the best for Zander’s recovery and can’t wait to see him travel through the Philippines one day!
Update March 2020
Zander has been doing well! While things are still a bit tough as he begins his vaccinations, overall he is doing great.
"When Zander was diagnosed with AML, both me and Zoe stopped working right away. I remember those times when we would go to our family and friends to lend us money just to pay our bills. That's why we are so thankful to Community Key for helping us, taking away some of the burdens financially."
- Franky Jardeleza