Manitoba family pushing for increased awareness of rare cancer

WINNIPEG — “Death has nothing to do with going away. The sun sets, the moon sets but they are not gone.”

That quote was penned by Rumi, but Dana Wood feels the meaning in it every day after losing her daughter Darah to cancer.

The quote appears in the book “Mama I”m Not Gone” that Wood herself wrote as a means for therapy after Darah passed at the young age of 14.

“My daughter was an elite athlete, she played AAA hockey in Manitoba. She was playing club volleyball, she was a provincial qualifier for track and field,” said Dana.

Their cancer journey started in July of 2011 when Darah broke her femur in what seemed to be completely random incident after crossing the finish line at a track meet. With no warning the largest bone in her body, seemingly just “broke”.

Three months later she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Ewings Sarcoma. This form of cancer can develop in either the bone or the soft tissue. In Darah’s case it formed in her thigh, causing the break.

“If not diagnosed early, the chances of metastases – or spread is really high and the most likely place is to the lungs.” says Gail Hodge, with the Ewings Cancer Foundation. “Once that happens the chance of survival drops to 30%.”

Darah went through 22 rounds of grueling chemotherapy, and underwent 26 blood transfusions.

Her mom sums her daughter up as a “tough competitor” and not just in the sports and activities she participated in but in every aspect of her life.

The teen loved to be out on the water fishing, and she spent many hours doing so. Participating in “Fishing For The Cure”, she received a special Master Angler award when she reeled in a huge catfish. She just didn’t know how to quit despite her battle with the disease.

“That didn’t change when she got cancer.” said Dana. “She continued to fight and be a competitor and say I”m going to win this, I’m going to beat this and she never once complained.”

Her fighting spirit came into play again when she was faced with the amputation of her leg.

After a long rehabilitation that wasn’t without it’s challenges she began training in the hopes of making it on Team Canada’s Sitting Volleyball Paralympic Team.

She never gave up.

In August of 2013, Darah passed away peacefully at the age of 14.

Since her death, Dana is actively involved in the Ewings Cancer Foundation and continues to do what she can to get the word out to educate those about this form of cancer that is not hereditary and is prone to striking adolescents.

If you would like more information on Ewings Sarcoma you can visit their website www.ewingscancer.ca

For more information on childhood cancer or to donate you can also visit www.bigbookofcare.org

Watch the video here: http://globalnews.ca/news/2245316/manitoba-family-pushing-for-increased-awareness-of-rare-cancer/

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