BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Difficult situations can create inspiring stories, as a Beaverton family has proved.
Summar Ruelle and her daughter Sapphire were diagnosed with cancer within 11 days of each other.
“You could never imagine that you could have such timing,” recalled Summar Ruelle. Her diagnosis last fall was stage IV breast cancer.
Her daughter Sapphire’s diagnosis was leukemia.
“I wanted to forget about myself and my own diagnosis and put all my treatments on hold,” Summar remembered.
The same week Sapphire went into treatment at Randall Children’s Hospital, Summar started treatment at Providence St. Vincent.
“We were across the river from each other. It was so tough,” Summar said.
Her husband Pascal left his job to become a full time caregiver.
“There’s been days when I just wish I could take both their sicknesses and put them in me to deal with them myself. That would be easier,” he said.
There have been fundraisers to help with bills. Summar also had to leave her job with Columbia Sportswear. Friends have pitched in to help care for the couple’s six-year-old son, Jayden.
“I have no idea how they have dealt with all this,” said Dr. Jason Glover of Randall Children’s Hospital. “They’ve had tremendous grace under a lot of pressure.”
With Summar taking more than a dozen medications and Sapphire’s pills taking up another shelf, a corner of the kitchen is like a mini clinic.
Last week, the Make-A-Wish foundation gave the family a much-needed break with a trip to Disneyworld. A highlight for Summar was meeting the Disney princesses.
“Her prognosis is excellent,” said Dr. Glover, “Most of kids with leukemia have better than a 90 per cent chance of being cured.”
For Summar the outlook is not as promising. At 36, she cherishes each moment.
“I think now we’re in a better position, because we can all be together. But we do have a ways to go,” she said.
Pascal says his wife gets scanned every three months. “Every child needs a mother so we hope for the best,” he said.
To visit the family’s website, www.theruellefamily.com