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Nine-month-old Chloe Dietrich is in a fight for her life

Baby Chloe Simon is only nine months old but this smiling girl is already undergoing chemotherapy. Her parents got the diagnosis in January and have now dedicated all their time to her healing. But the bills keep piling up. - Submitted photo
Baby Chloe Simon is only nine months old but this smiling girl is already undergoing chemotherapy. Her parents got the diagnosis in January and have now dedicated all their time to her healing. But the bills keep piling up.
— image credit: Submitted photo

Langley’s Chloe Dietrich may only be nine months old, but already she is in the fight of her life.

On Thursday, Chloe started her first of four rounds of chemotherapy at B.C. Children’s Hospital.

On Feb. 3, she had an eight-hour surgery to remove a golf ball-sized tumor on her infant-sized liver. Doctors worked tirelessly and managed to remove all the tumor and save 25 per cent of her liver.

“She’s such a trooper. She has been all smiles today,” said her mother Nykia Simon, who slipped out of the hospital room for a minute to speak with The Times on Thursday.

In early January, when Nykia was giving her little baby a bath, she noticed a golf ball-sized bump on her side.

“I asked my boyfriend Mike (father of Chloe) to come and look at it and we both knew it was something that needed looking at by a doctor,” she said.

That was the start of a roller coaster ride nobody would want to take. They went from family doctor to pediatrician to an ultrasound for baby Chloe.

“During the ultrasound, I saw a black mass on the screen and I knew it was something bad,” she said.

From there Nykia met with an oncologist who said those horrible, terrifying words to her.

“‘Chloe could have cancer,’ the doctor said. I called my boyfriend — hysterical. She is just a baby,” Nykia said.

The oncologist ordered a CT scan for the next day at Children’s Hospital. Her boyfriend Mike Dietrich and Nykia were given the devastating news that Chloe had Hipatoblastoma — a cancer of the liver.

“She may have had from before she was born, we don’t know. What we do know is that we have to be strong for her and for her big brother Cassius,” said Nykia.

But it’s been so hard to see their baby sick.

“Sometimes, I just want to take her in my arms and go home,” she said.

After the surgery, there were complications, including infection, and Chloe needed plasma.

The two have tried not to leave their daughter’s side since all this began.

Dietrich, who works at Canada Bread in Langley, has been mainly off work for the past month, either by Chloe’s side or home with their three-year-old son Cassius.

“Cassius is very smart and in touch with people’s feelings so it’s been difficult for him and that’s why we have been trying to keep him home to give him a break,” she said.

While they try to just focus on Chloe, the bills still come in. The rounds of chemo will take up to four months and it may require Chloe to stay in hospital or for them to get her there for treatment once a week.

They don’t have a car to get to Vancouver. Rent still needs to be paid.There will be specialized supplements and alternative treatments that are not covered by insurance.

Dietrich will inevitably miss work to care for her and for the family to spend as many precious moments together as possible. Nykia is still on maternity leave and probably will not return to work in the near future.

While the couple has been reluctant to ask for help, Chloe’s aunt Naomi Thomas has started a fundraising page to help them through this difficult journey called Help Chloe Heal at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/helping-to-heal-chloe. Already, more than $2,200 has been raised. But they will need more than that. Every person who donates $100 online will be sent a one-of-a-kind thank you card made by big brother Cassius.

People can also help by donating to a trust account at TD Canada Trust account #6089224. Friends and family will be holding a fundraiser at Pub 120 in Surrey on March 22. For $20, those attending will get a burger and beer, and there will be other chances to raise funds at the event.

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