Hi! My name is Anya Cale Harvey. I am 6 years old, and I was diagnosed Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on November 1, 2014. It all started when I had really bad leg pain on Halloween night after trick-or-treating with my friends (I was dressed as Batman), and my Mommy took me to the emergency room the next morning because it hurt too bad to walk. The ER doctors ran blood work, and when they got the results they transferred me right to St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital for more testing. It didn’t take long for them to discover that I had 97% cancerous blasts in my bone marrow, which means that I was really, really sick with leukemia. I also had pneumonia and both of my lungs were really full of fluid – which landed me in the ICU for 3 days while I fought for my life. However, I never fought alone. I have such an amazing ‘Team’ of people who love me, pray for me, and continue to help support me while I fight cancer and we gave them the name “Team Anya Cale.”
I am the baby of the family, and when I got diagnosed with cancer my Mommy had just returned to teaching (after staying home with us until I was old enough to go to pre-k). Not long after she started her job she had to quit, because I was in the hospital a lot of the time and that kept her out of her classroom too much. I feel really lucky that she has been with me through each and every surgery, procedure, port access, blood transfusion, chemo-infusion, and has even held my hand for every finger poke. I can tell that it makes her sad sometimes to have to ask others for help, but since she is a single Mom and isn’t able to work right now while I am in treatment – she does whatever she has to do to make sure we can pay our bills and buy my medications. My Aunt Lori lives in our house with us, too! We all love having her with us, and she has been able to take care of my brother (Kayne) and sister (Elyse) when Mom and I have to stay at the hospital. My treatment for leukemia will take a very long time (about 2 ½ years) and it has been VERY tough on my body, which causes me to miss school a lot of the time. It has been hard for all of us with everything cancer has done, but Mommy always reminds us “We can do hard things” and we do them together as a team.
Before my treatments started, I was always my big sister and brother’s BIGGEST fan for every sport that they played. Watching them play sports and cheering them on is something that always brought us together and made me happy, because I felt like I was part of the team, too. Since I got sick, we can’t really play sports anymore – because Mommy can’t always get us to practices and games… especially if I am sick in the hospital for a while. Sometimes I can tell that my brother gets disappointed when he hears of his friends getting to try out for and join teams, because it reminds him that it is something that we aren’t able to do right now; but, when we were given tickets to see the Lightning play for the first time, Kayne was SO excited! We had never been to a hockey game before, and we didn’t know much about how it is played – we just love going places together, and we always try to make everything a fun adventure. Before we had even left the Cally’s Crew box after watching our first game, I decided that hockey was my very favorite sport! My favorite part was all of the fights that we saw and cheering for the Lightning, but meeting Thunder-Bug and the cheerleaders that came around to the box was really cool too! When people try to talk to me, I am normally really shy; but, Miss Kyla remembered that about me from when we first met, and each time she talked to me we would talk about things that she knows that I love. I told Mommy that I thought she was one of the nicest people I had ever met, because she always makes everyone feel like they are really part of a ‘crew’ when she is around.
Fighting cancer is really tough, and it takes more than just medicine in the hospital to make me feel better. That is why I think that Mr. Ryan and Miss Kyla ask cancer-fighters and their families to come and sit in their box, because they understand that sometimes just forgetting about all of the bad stuff that we have gone through and cheering for the Lightning helps our whole family to be happier ☺
“It makes me feel amazing that they do that (give us tickets to the Lightning Game), because my Mom would never be able to buy tickets to a Lightning game – especially not a BOX! I love everything about it because it feels like they brought us into their family when we are there. We don’t ever have to think about Anya’s cancer when we are there – we are just regular kids cheering for our favorite team! Thank you so much to Callahan family for inviting us to sit with you in your box and for the chance to be a part of your Crew. GO BOLTS!!”
– Kayne (age 8, brother of Cancer-Warrior Anya)
You can also purchase ‘Team Anya Cale’ Beauty Defined tee shirts to support Anya! Click here for ordering information. https://www.etsy.com/listing/450211784/beauty-defined-shirt-pre-sale?ref=shop_home_active_1