A nine-year-old from Long Sault named CHEO Telethon Kid

A nine-year-old from Long Sault named CHEO Telethon Kid
Nine-year-old Parker McDonald, a hockey player and multi-sport athlete, will be a CHEO Telethon Kid (Photo : submitted photo)

Nine-year-old Parker McDonald, a spirited multi-sport athlete from Long Sault, Ontario, has been named one of the CHEO Telethon Kids for 2024. Parker’s journey began in August 2022 when a mysterious lump on his leg led to a diagnosis of Ewing Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer.

The young athlete’s life took a dramatic turn as he underwent a rigorous treatment regimen, including chemotherapy, radiation, and a complex surgery known as rotationplasty. Dr. Kevin Smit, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon at CHEO, performed the groundbreaking procedure, which involved removing the cancerous bone from Parker’s leg and turning his ankle into a knee joint.

“We performed a rotationplasty procedure on Parker, where the tumour was removed from his leg, and successfully preserved as much of his leg as possible,” explained Dr. Smit. “Parker will still need a prosthetic, but he can now run, jump, play, and get back into the sports that he loves. I have been impressed with Parker’s courage, resilience, motivation, and outlook on life! He is truly one of CHEO’s heroes.”

Despite the intense treatment, Parker’s determination and love for hockey saw him back on skates, aiming for a bright future. His mother, Stephanie McDonald, expressed immense gratitude for the support they received from CHEO.

“Hearing the words that your son has cancer just shattered us,” Stephanie said. “We’re so grateful for the support from CHEO’s doctors, nurses, and child life specialists. I can’t thank Child Life more for making him smile during such a tough time; it’s nice to have another set of hands to help make him laugh and smile during the whole process. We always recognized CHEO’s value to the community, but it wasn’t until we were entirely dependent on it that we fully grasped its significance. We are so grateful for the care Parker received at CHEO, and we were thrilled to have the opportunity to share our story and inspire others.”

The CHEO Telethon 2024 returns with a fresh format, marking its 41st edition, showcasing stories like Parker’s. The event will be broadcast from June 3 to 7 on CTV Ottawa/Bell Media, culminating in a grand finale on June 8. The community is encouraged to support the telethon by donating online or via phone, with corporate sponsors matching donations throughout the week.

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