Rachelle was our special guest at the Beaded Journey Gala held April 22, 2022. Here is her story.
My name is Rachelle Drummond. In November of 2003, my parents noticed that my legs and spine were badly bruised, and I no longer had the energy to keep up. Three months later, after countless diagnostic tests had come back clear, I was on a family ski trip when my legs collapsed under me. They had zero feeling and I was unable to stand or walk.
On February 25th, 2004, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) and I had surgery the next day to begin chemotherapy.
Shortly after, Val, with the Kids with Cancer Society, was at our hospital room with a backpack of resources to help my family and I begin my journey. My diagnosis was very high risk, with my initial blood counts showing 50,000 cancer cells and 30,000 white blood cells. My first stint in the hospital was 10 months straight and it was within this time that I learnt how to walk again at the age of five.
Instead of my Dora backpack being filled with stickers, crayons, and 5-year-old essentials, it was filled with the 12 medications that I would take daily. I went through two years and 10 months of intense chemotherapy before being declared cancer free.
The Kids with Cancer Society was always by my side. Events like the Christmas Party, A Zookeeper For A Day Dream Experience, and climbing with the Teen Group made me feel like I could be myself and that this was my second family.
Currently, I am completing my master’s degree in policy, researching cancer policies, and will begin studying psychosocial oncology at the Cumming School of Medicine in August. My long-term goal is to be a neurosurgeon. When I am not in school, I love doing anything active or outside such as skiing, hiking, rock climbing, cycling, and camping.