How on earth can you make sense of an eight-year old needing a bucket list?
Buckets are for kids to fill with sand and make sandcastles. And collect Saskatoons, raspberries or ladybugs. Or for carrying water to pour over their sister’s head.
Janaya Chekowski-McKenzie, is a bright, spunky, beautiful eight-year old, and an incredible fighter with unlimited potential.
However, the list of her medical complications is almost as long as her bucket list.
At birth she was found to be hypoxic due to being in the birth canal too long. And this caused a lung infection. At the age of three months she was diagnosed with a very rare condition called Hypopituitarism – an under-active pituitary gland. Janaya lacks necessary hormones like adrenocorticotropic hormone, growth hormone, and cortisol.
This condition also causes her to suffer from a decreased immune system, leaving her susceptible to infection. Janaya would require a lifetime of medications, and would spend much of her first three years of life in and out of the Stollery Children’s Hospital battling pneumonia. In addition to hypopituitarism, Janaya was later found to have a vision disorder – Optic Nerve Hypoplasia affecting her right eye – she has no depth perception.
Dinosaurs and Pokemon
Despite her overwhelming number of medical complications, Janaya grew and thrived under the care of her mom, Amanda Crow and family. She started school with a series of educational delays, and evolved to an outstanding grade three student who reads many levels above her grade.
Janaya can name every Pokemon and their properties, and has an incredibly vast knowledge of dinosaurs that would rival many paleontologists.
A Rare Cancer
Janaya started getting headaches in the fall of 2017. They worsened as time went on, and on February 1, 2018 she was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer – “diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma” (DIPG).
As a result her family was told she has a fifty per cent chance of living another year, if treated with radiation to slow the growth of the tumor.
Janaya’s mom said about the moment the doctor gave the diagnosis, “My heart was in my throat. I couldn’t breathe. It was crazy…I just lost all my cool.”
So, Janaya got busy on her bucket list.
Filling Her Bucket
Three of Janaya’s dreams are: New York on stage singing, be in a band and be world famous.
North Pointe isn’t New York but we did our best to help Janaya check off three more dreams on her list.
On Tuesday May 1st, Janaya walked the red carpet after a limo ride from her home in Beaumont. She was on stage with a band and our friends at CTV and CHED did their best to make her world famous.
APPLICATION: As of September 20, 2018, Janaya has developed a fast growing tumor on her brain stem and down to her spinal cord. Please pray for her and her family.
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