Wednesday, 29 January 2014


In just 3 minutes and 52 seconds, her life fell apart.

26 years of life shattered into millions of sharp little daggers into a heap on that cold hospital floor. Her long blond hair fell over her face as she sobbed uncontrollably.

Her hands cupped her red swollen eyes and quickly overflowed with tears.

Forever burned in her mind, were the surgeons words: “The tumour is wrapped around his brainstem. There is nothing more we can do to help him.”

Her body shuddered in shock. At that moment the world around her was silenced. Nothing existed but the pain that was ripping her apart from the inside out. Slowly tearing every organ, every fibre and every hair into pieces.

“Cassie, Cassie,” her husband cried.

1 year earlier

Her name was Cassie McIntyre. A household name in the City of Woodsro. Cassie was a journalist for the local newspaper, The Sentinel-Review. She covered the crime beat, chasing ambulances and fire trucks and hanging around the courthouse.

A fearless beauty with a passion for news. She would often describe herself as an adrenaline junkie.  

She had been with the daily paper for five years. Her life was her byline.

It was a Friday afternoon and the day was winding down. Cassie was on the weekend shift, but was eager to get out of the office for the day. She bit the end of her pen as she randomly searched the Criminal Code for any interesting charges she could write about.

Then she heard it. The scanner in the corner of the office crackled and buzzed out a loud tone.

“Attention Beachville Firefighters …” the voice on the scanner cut out.

“Attend a multi vehicle collision on highway 401”

She listened intently.

“Possibly 15 to 20 cars.. unknown injuries.”

With that she whipped the camera bag over her shoulder grabbed a pencil from her drawer and the car keys with her other hand.  

The weather was quickly deteriorating. Heavy snow covered her windshield within seconds. The snow laid a white blanket on the black asphalt road. Her tires spun. She pressed on.

She knew the highway would be closed, so she veered down a sideroad while calling her sources for information on the exact location. She parked the car in a snowbank in front of an old farmhouse and walked up to the front door. Without a second guess, she asked the homeowner permission to walk through their field to get to the highway. They agreed and handed her an extra set of mitts and hat.

Her heart pounded with excitement as no other media outlet had gotten access to the scene yet.

The snow was up to her knees in the field, soaking her skinny jeans that now clung coldly to her legs. She came to a wire fence at the edge of the farmer’s property and climbed over. Her jeans ripped. She carried on.

First jumping over a small stream, she headed up an embankment. At the top, she could see the highway littered with cars and emergency personnel. Now crawling to make it up the slippery, snowy hill, she was just inches from being the first to capture the devastation.

A siren wailed.

***

Limply picking herself up off the ground, Cassie melted into her husband’s arms. The young couple took comfort in each other’s embrace as they stood outside the waiting room in the operating room at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

Their 8-month-old son was on the operating table. He was in the care of two highly-acclaimed neurosurgeons .  

Just hours earlier, doctors had discovered a large mass growing in their baby’s brain. Cassie knew her son had been sick – he had been for months and doctors couldn’t figure it out. But she never expected this.

As she drove to meet her husband at the hospital, she told herself, I won’t bury my child. I won’t bury my child.

Her stomach sank.  

It was a cold February day. The second day to be exact. The day a cancerous tumour almost killed their baby.

“I can’t believe he is still functioning,” Dr. Wisenfell said as he examined the small boy before rushing him into emergency surgery.

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