Greta fights cancer battle in Boston

Five-year-old Abbotsford girl receives special radiation treatment to fight rare bone cancer

Greta Loewen at BC Children's Hospital before leaving for cancer treatment in Boston.

Greta Loewen at BC Children's Hospital before leaving for cancer treatment in Boston.

The family of Abbotsford’s Greta Loewen is currently living in Boston while the five-year-old undergoes treatment to battle a rare form of bone cancer.

Greta’s mom, Heather, said the family will be in Boston for about six months while Greta receives proton beam radiation, a procedure not currently available in Canada.

Most of Greta’s medical treatment is covered while she is in the U.S., but ongoing fundraising efforts have helped cover expenses such as medication, travel, meals and living costs.

Heather and her husband, Tim, own and operate HOFA (House of Fine Arts) Art Supplies and Framing in Abbotsford, but are unable to work while they are by Greta’s side.

She was diagnosed in mid-December with a rare form of bone cancer known as Ewing’s sarcoma and was being treated at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver before the family left for Boston in early March.

Heather said proton beam radiation is more precise than other forms of radiation and less likely to damage or destroy surrounding areas such as her lungs, heart and spinal cord.

She said Greta has been a trouper throughout her treatment. “It’s truly awe-inspiring what this little girl deals with on a day-to-day basis with barely ever a protest. She loves going for her treatment and never complains … Wish I could convey even a fraction of her strength,” Heather wrote on the “Greta’s Team” Facebook page.

She said it appears that Greta’s cancer has responded to chemotherapy, with scans showing no spread of the disease at the 12-week treatment mark.

Heather said Greta is buoyed by the support from the community, including a special letter and package she received in the mail from Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun; a Love Greta Day at her school, Margaret Stenersen elementary; and numerous fundraisers held on her behalf.

“A little bit of feeling famous is a nice distraction for a little girl who is fighting for her life,” Heather said.

Events held for Greta have included a bottle drive that brought in more than $15,000, a craft fair that raised more than $4,000, and an art auction that collected over $13,000.

Upcoming fundraisers include the Dance for Greta on Saturday, May 2 at Straiton Hall, 4698 Upper Sumas Mtn. Rd. featuring live music by Frank’s New Band.

Tickets are $25, including appetizers, a silent auction and a cash bar. They are available at Abbotsford Regional Hospital maternity ward, HOFA Art Supplies, Cheam Midwifery or by emailing Mands_Dave@yahoo.com.

For information on other fundraising events or on how to make a donation, visit “Greta’s Team” on Facebook.