At the tender age of four, Evan Conway knows he wants to be a firefighter.
He has toy fire trucks, his firefighter’s hat as well as a firefighting jacket. He wants to spray water on fires, and to help people.
Evan has shown the bravery needed for firefighting through a more than two year journey with leukemia. Evan was happy to celebrate as the Kitchener Fire Department brought a truck to GRH’s KW Campus to mark his final treatment for the disease.
“The fire truck visit was a huge milestone for Evan,” said his mom Maggie. “He’s been in treatment for 25 months, receiving chemotherapy every week.”
Kitchener fire staff members were eager to tour Evan around their truck. The visit was made possible through the Kitchener Fire Department, Kitchener Professional Firefighters Association and Knights of Columbus.
Evan began his cancer treatment in Hamilton, but has been coming to Grand River Hospital for the past year. GRH operates a Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario satellite clinic to provide closer to home care for young cancer patients. GRH’s POGO clinic provides care for 60 children a year in our community.
The clinic’s services have helped cut their drive from their Drayton home by more than half. GRH’s pediatric cancer clinic has a cozy feel as well.
“We see the same care providers and get to know them well,” added Maggie.
The firefighters were thrilled to be present for this latest gift as part of the Our Everyday Heroes program, which provides encouragement and gifts to support children receiving care at GRH. The children’s program at GRH has over 1,200 hospital admissions and 4,500 outpatient children’s visits annually.
“The Kitchener Professional Firefighters Association and the Knights of Columbus visit those in need at GRH twice a month. Since its inception, more than 1500 children have been involved in the program,” explained David Vaux of Our Everyday Heroes. “’Our Everyday Heroes’ are the children who are the true heroes in our community. Our Kitchener firefighters dedicate their time off to volunteer for the visits. These visits are very gratifying for our volunteers and much anticipated by the children.”
While Evan’s treatment is over, he’ll still come back to GRH for monthly check-ups. For Maggie, there’s mixed emotion as Evan’s treatment has been part of their routine for so long but relief that it’s coming to an end.
“GRH is a good hospital, and we’re grateful for the care they’ve given Evan,” she added.
Congratulations to Evan on completing your treatment, and all the best in your dream of becoming a firefighter!