More than two years after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Olivia Davis is now in remission.
Olivia was diagnosed in December 2013, just a month and a bit before her 14th birthday, said her mom Leanne.
When Olivia was diagnosed, she said 84 per cent of her blood was taken over by the leukemia cells.
“It just takes one cell to kind of develop wrong and then it just starts multiplying and multiplying,” her mom added.
Leanne said the first nine months was really intense chemotherapy.
Since then, it has been about 835 days of treatment. Leanne said during that time Olivia was either on IV chemotherapy or daily chemo pills at home.
“So in total, if you take all that into consideration, it’s 835 days of treatment on some sort of form of chemotherapy,” Leanne said.
But Olivia had her last day of chemotherapy on March 16 and took her final chemo pill on April 4. Now Olivia is scheduled to go back for one more appointment on May 2.
“Then it’ll be totally official, I guess, that we’re done,” Leanne said, adding that there is a chance their appointment could be bumped if something more serious comes up.
After that, Olivia said she’ll have to go back to British Columbia Children’s Hospital once a month, then every three months, then every six months and then finally once a year.
Olivia said she had known that those would be her last treatments since about February.
“I started keeping a countdown on my fridge,” Olivia said.
Leanne said the oncologist would just tell the family little segments at a time.
“It’s pretty overwhelming because she was first diagnosed in December 2013. So they don’t want to tell you at that time when your end date is going to be,” Leanne said. “There could be complications, there could be blood counts being too low, so they have to stop the chemotherapy for a time which would tack on time at the end.”
During her treatments, Olivia spoke at Cops for Cancer events. She first spoke to a crowd in September 2014.
Leanne said, she thinks Olivia moved a lot of people with her story.
“Olivia has had such positive feedback from the Tour de Rock, that people are just astounded. There’s this 15- or 16-year-old getting up there to speak and she does it so eloquently,” Leanne said.
However, Olivia said she doesn’t enjoy public speaking.
“But I enjoy getting the message out. Once I get out there, I’m fine usually, just kind of nerves at first. I like doing it because it gives more awareness because a lot of people don’t really understand what it’s like,” the Kwalikum Secondary student said.
Around the time of her first speech, Olivia had just made it onto a rep hockey team.
During all of her treatments, except for the first nine months, Olivia was still continuing to play sports.
Olivia said, for her, it was important to keep playing.
In August 2014, just shy of a year after being diagnosed, Olivia was back on the ice.
“I could barely stand because I lost a lot of muscle in my legs,” Olivia said.
Leanne said once her daughter got the go-ahead from the oncologist, Olivia had her skates on within the week.
This past hockey season, Leanne said Olivia didn’t make the rep team, but instead played for Nanaimo midget hockey.
Now, Olivia said she is getting prepared for triple A hockey. The 16-year-old has started a training diet and is going to the gym regularly.
“It’s actually kind of funny, I think I’m in better physical condition than I was even before I started treatment,” Olivia said. “I’m a lot stronger now and my stamina and my endurance has actually improved quite a bit just for being off (the pills) for three weeks.”
Since being off her pills, Olivia got her first home run in softball.
“I just feel like I’ve accomplished more going through what I’ve gone through because it’s made me more determined and dedicated to stuff I do,” she said.
“I always make sure if I want to do something that I’ll do it and I won’t say I can’t do it.”