A Carcross family is asking Yukoners for help after their seven-week-old son was diagnosed with a rare cancer.
Emmett Smith is the son of Michael Smith and Charlotte Francis.
“Michael comes from a big family here in Carcross,” said Donnie Smith, Michael’s brother.
“He’s a member of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation, of the Daklaweidi clan.”
Emmett has been in hospital in Vancouver for about a week, and has begun chemotherapy, said Donnie.
“He has been diagnosed with a very rare liver cancer. It’s a pretty hard name to pronounce. It’s called heptoblastoma.”
Emmett is the youngest of four children in the family.
The doctors say he will have to go through 18 weeks of chemotherapy before he may be eligible for surgery.
That has put the family in a difficult financial position, said Donnie.
“Financially it’s a pretty big burden for them, to be down there. It will help them with plane fare to fly back and forth, when the baby needs chemo, or anything else that may come up. It will help them financially as far as their living goes, as well. At this moment they are both unable to work.”
The community of Carcross has come together in support of the family. Posters have gone up around town letting residents know about the situation, and the First Nation is collecting donations.
“They all seem to be pulling together and helping as much as they can,” said Donnie.
“It looks like there’s donations coming in, and the First Nation is helping out as well.”
It’s a hard time for the family, but they are doing alright, he said.
“They’re doing OK. He’s gone through one treatment already of chemo, and he seems to be OK so far. I haven’t heard anything new on it.”
He said he doesn’t know what Emmett’s prospects for beating the cancer and recovering.
“I haven’t heard anything, but it must be fairly good news because they are going through the treatment and everything,” said Donnie.
“He’s breathing and playing around and everything like he would.
“I just want to say thank you to everybody that’s helped and donated so far. Michael and Charlotte appreciate that very much.”
As of Friday morning, an online fundraiser that was set up Thursday afternoon had raised about $1,200 towards a $10,000 goal.
Some donors have left messages of support for Emmett and his family.
“May Baby Emmett come through this with a clean bill of health. Be strong and stay positive. Know you have lots of family praying for you,” wrote one supporter.
To make a donation for the family, visit www.gofundme.com/jwf13o.
Contact Jacqueline Ronson at