Elayna Greenwood likes to hang out with her friends, enjoys dancing with the Performing Arts Warehouse, and wants to be a doctor when she grows up.
It’s a regular life for your average 13-year-old from Prince Albert, but it wasn’t always this way. At age six, Greenwood was in a fight for her life after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a type of cancer that originates in bone marrow and spreads into the blood.
For two and a half years, even regular activities like going to school were out of the question. Today she’s happy, healthy, and a regular supporter of the Relay for Life. Most importantly, she’s been cancer free for four years, and on Tuesday, she was recognized for overcoming those struggles with Prince Albert’s 2019 Terry Fox Award.
“I feel very honoured and thankful,” Greenwood said shortly after receiving the award from Mayor Greg Dionne during Tuesday’s city council meeting.
“I was very shocked (to receive the award). I didn’t really think I would get it. I didn’t know for sure.”
The journey back wasn’t easy. Treatment appointments in Saskatoon kept the family on the road early and often, so Greenwood did much of her schooling at the hospital with the help of her tutors. After the experience, she’s become a source of inspiration for other Prince Albert youth, and for her parents.
“Elayna, after what she went through, has really tried to take advantage of every opportunity that’s been given to her since then,” her mother Kelly said. “I think that’s something that other kids could take from this: don’t take anything for granted. The fact that she can dance six days a week and go to school, that’s something that she didn’t always get to do.
“It’s amazing to look at her now and to think about what things were seven years ago when she was diagnosed. She was so small and she was so sick. She had no hair and couldn’t go to school, in the hospital and now to look at her, she’s tall, she’s growing, and she’s happy. She’s got tonnes of friends and tonnes of activities that she’s involved in and she’s just healthy and we’re just thankful every day for that.”
Elayna received her award at the beginning of Tuesday’s city council meeting. She’s the 37th Prince Albert youth to receive the award since it was first handed out in 1981. The award is handed out annually to a young resident to best emulates the ideals and inspiration of Terry Fox.