Winnipeg carnival spreads holiday cheer to kids with serious illnesses

Written by admin on 15/07/2019 Categories: 上海夜网

The second annual Holiday Carnival for Kidz took over the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg on Sunday afternoon.

The carnival is in its second year, and it’s specifically designed for children battling serious illnesses.

One of the many Christmas displays at the 2018 Holiday Carnival for Kidz.

Marek Tkach / Global News

“Whether [the illnesses are] chronic, debilitating or life-threatening,” said Stella Mazza, chair of the event’s organizing committee, “it’s a break from all the routine doctor appointments to come and enjoy an afternoon of an indoor midway and all of the activities that get them ready for the holiday season.”

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Different interacting stations were set up around the convention centre, including numerous rides, games, and arts and crafts stations.

Three-year-old Hilarie Zamkotowich, along with her parents, was one of the many who took in an afternoon full of holiday-themed activities.

Hilarie Zamkotowich being held by her father Morgan Hobbs along with her mother Sara Zamkotowich.

Marek Tkach / Global News

At the age of one, Hilarie was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma. Her mom, Sara, remembers the exact moment she found out.

“I would say I blacked out, to be honest with you, because it was just so much emotion. I just remember crying and shaking a lot.”

Neuroblastoma is a type of nerve cancer that begins attacking glands above the kidneys. In Hilarie’s case it spread to her spine, causing temporary paralysis.

Shortly after her mom found out, she quit her job and began spending weeks at a time in the hospital.

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“You gotta do what you gotta do,” Sara said. “From the very beginning her oncologist said it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and we’re still running that marathon.”

For Hilarie and her family, this holiday season will be quite the change of scenery from last year’s.

They began their December by taking in the Christmas Carnival on Sunday afternoon, but waking up on Christmas morning is what they are really looking forward to.

“Knowing we are going to be waking up together just relaxing and doing normal things,” Sara said, “putting on our Christmas pajamas and not getting the nurse to change your IV.”

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Two years ago, things were even worse. Christmas 2015 came months after Hilarie began her battle with cancer.

Hilarie Zamkotowich (3) enjoying a game of floor hockey at the annual “Holiday Carnival for Kidz”.

Marek Tkach / Global News

“She runs like crazy now, she’s not paralyzed (anymore),” Sara continued. “Our entire way of parenting has completely changed. If we didn’t go through that experience with her, we would be completely different parents than we are right now.”

Hilarie is in the best condition she’s been in since her diagnosis, but the cancer is still present and she attends specialist appointments every three months.

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