Little Brinley Pawluk was diagnosed with leukemia when she was just four years old.
She was tired and had flu like symptoms that didn’t seem to go away. The symptoms turned out to be leukemia.
The initial treatments included intensive chemotherapy, bone marrow aspirations, spinal taps and blood transfusions at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.
In September of 2011 her parents, Morgan and Blake Pawluk, formerly of Williams Lake, (then living in Edmonton), decided to move to Phoenix, Arizona where Blake was offered a job with his company, Honeywell International.
In September 2011, Brinley started a long-term, low-dose chemotherapy treatment program at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Now six years old, Brinley is in the second year of the initial two-and-a-half-year maintenance program which includes daily chemotherapy treatments, monthly spinal tap and bone marrow aspirations every two months.
After these treatments there is a five-year follow up monitoring/treatment program.
The family’s medical plan covers 80 per cent of Brinley’s treatments but they have been struggling to cover the remaining treatment and medication costs.
In efforts to help with these costs, Brinley’s grandparents Ron and Angie Grisdale, here in Williams Lake, have set up a trust fund for Brinley, sold orange leukemia bracelets with Brinley’s name on them, and held a garage sale.
Now they are in the process of parting with a treasured doll house which has been part of the family since Brinley’s mother was a young girl.
Ron and Angie made the doll house with Brinley’s mother, Morgan, when Morgan was seven years old. Morgan played with the house for a few years, then it became a playhouse for Angie’s home daycare for many years.
They had hoped to give the doll house to Brinley, who has had some fun playing with it already, but given the expense of shipping it to Phoenix, the family decided to raffle the doll house to help with Brinley’s care.
From the outside the house is as tall as Brinley is, about four feet high and four feet wide. It is set on casters so that it is easily moveable.
The doll house opens up on hinges to reveal an eight-foot long, by four-foot high, fully furnished 14-room, three-story home.
The house has five bedrooms, an eat-in kitchen, formal dining room, formal sitting room, bathroom, laundry room, and even a patio room.
All of the rooms are tall enough for Barbie and Ken dolls to stand up in.
The rooms are lovingly finished with wallpaper, carpets, hardwood flooring, and linoleum where appropriate. Family and friends furnished the house with gifts of original Barbie furniture including tables, chairs, washer and dryer, light up beds, couches, little piano, a little Jeep, and more. There is bedding doll clothing and of course Barbie and Ken dolls.
The doll house comes with 23 Barbie and Ken dolls including the original Ken doll, and some of the earliest Barbies.
The Grisdales are hoping to raise $5,000 with the raffle but there are still lots of tickets left to sell before the raffle draw which will be made on Nov. 7.
At just $2 a piece the tickets are a bargain for some lucky youngster.
Angie says even boys enjoy playing with the house.
People who would like to buy tickets on the doll house can contact the Grisdales at 250-392-6017.
The doll house will also be available for viewing and tickets will be available at the Early Bird Christmas Craft Fair taking place at the Elks Hall on Friday, Nov. 2 and Saturday, Nov. 3.
For more information on that event call 250-296-3590 or 250-620-3349 or go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The house has been on display at the Lions/Lioness Mothers’ Day flea market, Rotary Trade Fair in May and during Stampede.
After her initial treatment Brinley and her older brother, Carter, now 7, and the family was treated to a Make a Wish Foundation dream trip to Disney-world in Florida. Her grandparents went along at their own expense and have visited her several times in Arizona during the last year.
Angie says Brinley is responding well to the treatment, and growing which is a good sign.
The chemotherapy drugs are hard on Brinley’s system and create cravings, and hunger pangs that come on quickly, so she needs to eat small amounts of food every hour or so, rather than big meals.
As a result she didn’t grow for a long time.
She says the goal is to keep Brinley as happy and healthy as possible through the treatments because a happy child has a stronger chance of fighting the disease.
“We thank all our family and friends for their prayers and kind words of encouragement and we appreciate all the support and it is helping Brinley and us to get through this difficult time,” Angie says.
“We know the prayers are working as there are so many things that are going well for Brinley right now. Brinley has responded well to treatment. Some days it is hard to believe that she is fighting this cancer battle. Her energy level is so high and so are her spirits that she keeps us all so positive.”