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Local cancer survivor joins march for Children’s Wish Foundation in Truro


Having survived a months-long chemotherapy course and major surgery, Maia Zann-Roland will soon enjoy her dream holiday in the sun

TRURO, N.S. —

Maia Zann-Roland needed every reason to live as she fought bone cancer in hospital.

Her big wish was to cruise the Caribbean with her nearest and dearest.

Now, her dream is coming through thanks to the Children’s Wish Foundation, who let Zann-Roland lead the way during their fundraising Wishmaker Walk in Truro on Oct. 19.

“It was a terribly difficult year, your worst nightmare as a parent, but the IWK were phenomenal and we felt we had the care and support from our community, friends and family,” said Zann-Roland’s mother Tamara.

Zann-Roland was first diagnosed with a bone cancer in her leg last December. At first, she thought it was an injury resulting from her gymnastics training.

However, it turned out to be a tumour on her bone that required about eight months of chemotherapy and major surgery. Twenty-four centimetres of bone was removed from Zann-Roland’s femur and a fibular graft was used to replace it.

She finally finished her treatment on Aug. 18, ringing the bell at the IWK to signify the end of her grueling cancer journey.

Today, Zann-Roland still wears a brace on her right leg, but is back in gymnastic class and attending school at Cobequid Educational Centre.

She also coaches fellow gymnasts for five hours a week. Zann-Roland’s gymnast friends joined her on the Children’s Wish Foundation walk, helping her carry the banner.

“I feel very excited about the cruise coming up and being with my friends and family,” said Zann-Roland, 15.

Her Caribbean vacation is booked for Feb. 29.

Looking ahead, Zann-Roland says she wants to work in healthcare.

Her advice to other teens facing a cancer diagnosis was simple.

“Keep thinking towards the future and stay positive,” said Zann-Roland.

Event organizer Lloyd Berliner was pleased to see children and youths like Zann-Roland step up for the Children’s Wish Foundation.

“What’s great is when you see wish children who are taking part in this organization and this event, giving back to the organization that assisted them,” said Berliner.

The Children’s Wish Foundation says fundraising efforts like the Truro walk help them grant more than 1,000 wishes a year to youngsters facing serious or life-threatening illnesses. Wishes granted include everything from trips to Disneyland to meeting Mary Poppins.

Organizers say the fundraising total from the Truro walk will be available by the end of the weekend.

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