Four-year-old facing cancer shows what it means to be a true fighter

Nash Bartlette is known for lighting up a room with his big smile and friendly nature. 

“With his personality, he will say to hi to anyone passing by. He just brightens everyone’s day that he comes across,” said Nash’s mom, Nikki.

But in reality, Nash is not your average four-year-old. He’s braved chemo treatments, nights in hospital, needle pokes, plasma transfusions, as well as MRI and CT scans. 

He’s fighting cancer. 

It all started in late 2018 when Nikki noticed Nash regularly had headaches that would come and go, as well as his speech started to slur and he would randomly vomit.

A trip to the emergency in Saskatoon from the family’s home in Macklin was inevitable in December 2018. Following a brief neurological examination, it didn’t take long for the pediatrician to have Nash in for a CT scan later that same day.

The scan revealed a 10-centimetre brain tumour on the left side of Nash’s head. It was starting to push his brain to the right side, causing right-sided weakness, slurred speech and stumbling. 

The tumour was compared to the size of a grapefruit.

Two days later, Nash underwent an eight-hour surgery and 90 per cent of the tumour was removed, with a portion remaining which was wrapped around some major blood vessels. Nash also suffered a stroke, which impacted his speech and the right side of his body. After a whirlwind of eleven days in hospital, Nash was finally able to return home with a long journey ahead. 

Nash was diagnosed with a rare cancerous tumour, also called a central nervous system primitive neuro-ectodermal tumour (CNS-PNET). 

Since January 2019, Nash and his family have travelled from Macklin to Saskatoon almost weekly for his chemotherapy treatments at Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital, and now receiving treatment in Calgary as well.

Nash has also spent dozens of days of isolation due to his compromised immune system. For his family, practicing precautions such as social distancing, disinfecting surfaces and handwashing have been an everyday reality over the last 18 months.

“After chemo, where his immune system and white blood cells, which help fight infection, get knocked down, it’s especially important for us to be diligent in washing our hands, avoiding people who aren’t feeling well, and even saying no to play dates when necessary,” Nikki explained. 

As Nash continues his journey through treatment, he is showing what it means to be a true champion. 

“His attitude with everything that he’s gone through is amazing. If he feels sick, he doesn’t bat an eye. He’s not gloomy, but always so positive. He’s a true fighter,” said Nikki.

Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation has recently kicked off its Now More Than Ever campaign to help fund vital solutions to help kids like Nash, including virtual robotic care, world-class equipment, mental health support and dedicated spaces with integrated infection control.

Your gift, up to $25,000, will double in impact thanks to a generous donor who recognizes that now more than ever it’s going to take everyone in our community pulling together, including you, to ensure the health and safety of kids and families.

By donating now, you can change a life.

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Thank you for supporting Saskatchewan kids, moms, and families with your gift.

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