Chase's Story of Hope

Chase's Story of Hope

Imagine being able to play football in a weekend game, and a few days later finding out you have a brain tumour – one that would take away your balance and ability to walk. Now imagine you’re 5 years old. 

That is the exact situation that the Delisle family found themselves in in late 2013. 

Young Chase and his family were celebrating Thanksgiving when he complained of a headache and upset stomach. Chantelle, Chase’s mom, didn’t think too much of it as the other recent times Chase had mentioned feeling unwell, he always recovered quickly and was back to running around in no time. When Monday came, Chase was still ill so Chantelle took him to the doctor. After a few basic tests, the doctor asked Chantelle if Chase had been throwing up. Thinking back over the previous weeks, Chantelle did remember her son vomiting but it was infrequent and only in the morning. The doctor arranged an MRI for Chase but it would be a two-week wait until the appointment. 

On November 6, 2013 Chase and Chantelle went to the local hospital for the MRI scan, with Chantelle’s mom stepping in to care for the Delisles’ youngest son Carson, and dad Jay having to work at his new job. 

Halfway through the scan, an attendant came and notified Chantelle that a special contrast dye was needed as part of the MRI. “I was surprised,” she remembers, “but it seemed like it was just a regular part of the appointment.” Once the scan was over, Chantelle and Chase waited for an update on the results. “That’s when three people came into the room we were in – one was clearly a doctor now, in his white coat – and they took Chase away. That’s when I knew something was wrong.” The doctor asked Chantelle if she was alone at the clinic and that the scan showed a large mass on the back of her son’s brain, that she and her son had to go to the ER in London immediately and to notify her family to meet them there. Calling her husband, Chantelle says she could barely get the words out, “I just insisted that Jay leave work right then and there, and to meet us in London at the hospital.” 

The next morning, Chase underwent a 14-hour operation to remove the tumour near his brainstem.

For two weeks Chantelle stayed in London, as Chase recovered from the surgery. Jay had to continue working, so he would drive back and forth from Windsor several times a week, often on little sleep. 

“We learned it was a non-malignant brain tumour, a pilocytic astrocytoma,” Chantelle explains. “Can you imagine – we didn’t even have the time to explain to Chase what was going on. He was able to get himself into the ambulance and woke up unable to walk. It was terrifying.” Chase suffered difficult side effects after the brain tumour surgery, and spent months in a wheelchair as he slowly regained his balance and motor functions. 

“Right now he’s doing amazing!” 

Chase at Windsor Brain Tumour WalkToday Chase and the entire Delisle family take part in the annual Windsor Brain Tumour Walk, and say they are grateful for the inspiration and information they found through Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. “We were given a copy of the Pediatric Brain Tumour Handbook while we were in the hospital and when we got home a couple weeks later, we went straight online to the Foundation’s website where we read a lot of hero stories about families like us. It’s so scary hearing the words ‘your son has a brain tumour’ but we actually found peace knowing there were survivor stories. It gave us hope,” adds Chantelle. 

Chase, now 7 years old, still faces daily challenges from the brain tumour but you wouldn’t know it. He roughhouses with his little brother Carson and loves football and swimming. And while the hope is that future brain tumour treatment isn’t needed, the possibility is always there. “That’s why we decided as a family to support the Brain Tumour Walk. That if one day Chase needs another surgery, maybe there will be another option available that’s less invasive.”  

Thank you Chase and Chantelle for sharing your story and for Joining the Movement to End Brain Tumours! The movement to end brain tumours is stronger because of you!

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