February 12, 2013
Two Teens Fighting Cancer Together at Ronald McDonald House
They are the same age, from the same community, attend the same school, and now they’re fighting the same cancer together. Meet Kayla Ash and Christina Dingwell of Goose Bay. They are staying at Ronald McDonald House with their Dads while they both receive treatment in St. John’s.
Two teenagers from Labrador have formed a special friendship after they both were diagnosed with the same form of cancer and are staying at Ronald McDonald House with their Dads. Christina Dingwell, 16, was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in November 2012. Kayla Ash, 16, found out she had the same form of cancer on Christmas Eve.
The two girls go to the same high school, are in the same grade at Mealy Mountain Collegiate in Goose Bay.
They both knew of each other before staying at Our House, but have since grown closer through their time together.
“We weren’t really close friends, but it’s definitely going to bring us close,” Kayla said. “Experiencing this together you don’t really have it with anyone else, so I think it’ll bring us pretty close.”
When she started receiving treatment, Kayla’s main concern was losing all of her hair. When she realized this was going to happen, she was worried about it because she wanted to grow her hair long for graduation next year. In the meantime, she does have a wig that she wears whenever she goes out.
Kayla said that as sad as it is that there is someone else dealing with the same situation, she’s happy to have someone to relate to. The girls have had a hard time emotionally with tear-filled days together.
“I’ve had a lot, actually. The first month I was here, I cried a lot, and now it’s just sometimes I cry for no reason,” Christina said.
For the parents of the girls, it has been difficult to maintain everyday responsibilities in Labrador, as well as make St. John’s as much like home as possible. Carl Dingwell, Christina’s father, said that her family was taken completely by surprise.
“Certainly, you don’t ever think your kids going to have cancer or anything close to what’s going on right now,” Carl said.
Mike Ash, Kayla’s dad, said their experience was a similar shock to the family.
“We noticed a lump on the side of her neck and went to the doctor to get it checked out,” Mike Ash said. “Before we knew what was happening, we were on our way to St. John’s and we got the diagnosis. I think it was on the 24th of December actually, it was Christmas Eve.”
Both of the families have multiple children so the parents have to take turns spending time in Goose Bay and at Ronald McDonald’s House.
Both girls hope to be finished their treatments and return home to Goose Bay in the spring.
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