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Youngster helps his friend in the fight against cancer

By Sarah Ferguson, Fort Erie Times


Edan Martin designed the jars which are available at a number of local businesses  to help raise money for his friend, Tristan Romeo,  who was diagnosed with a brain tumor called medulloblastoma last February.  
SARAH FERGUSON/FORT ERIE TIMES

Edan Martin designed the jars which are available at a number of local businesses to help raise money for his friend, Tristan Romeo, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor called medulloblastoma last February. SARAH FERGUSON/FORT ERIE TIMES

Seven-year-old Edan Martin thinks cancer stinks.

The Grade 2 student, who is enrolled in the French immersion program at Garrison Road Public School, knew he wanted to do something to help his friend and fellow classmate, Tristan Romeo, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor called medulloblastoma last February.

“I asked my mom to see what I can do for Tristan and she said I could help raise money by making jars,” Edan explained.

“I said yes, sure. We can do that.”

A soft spoken Tristan said he was glad his best friend, whom he first met in kindergarten, wanted to help.

Edan set to work creating a picture that would decorate approximately 30 mason jars. He drew a picture of a skunk and the words ‘Cancer stinks.”

The jars have since been placed at a number of local businesses in Greater Fort Erie and members of the community are invited to drop in a toonie or whatever change they can spare. The proceeds raised from the jars will help pay for travel, child care and loss of work costs, and allow Tristan’s mother and father, Lisa and Grant, to focus on their son.

Lisa Romeo admits she is still overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers who have knocked on her family’s door to offer their love, support and hot meals.

She said it’s hard to imagine how her family would have made it through the last year without relying on friends, and in many cases, people she has never met before.

Lisa said she is also grateful for the staff at McMaster Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House.

“Most people don’t know just how much (Ronald McDonald House and McMaster Children’s Hospital) does for families until they’ve been hit in the face with (cancer).”

Tristan was diagnosed on Feb. 11 last year after an MRI revealed an egg-size tumor on the side of his brain, between the cerebellum and brain stem.

Two days later, he survived a nine-hour operation where surgeons were able to remove the tumor.

“Tristan had a 50-50 chance of surviving the operation,” Lisa said.

“It was heart breaking. It was the beginning of every parent’s worst nightmare.” After two more surgeries and countless rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, there is light at the end of the tunnel for Tristan. The seven-year-old, who loves to play video games and ball hockey with his best friend Edan, is expected to finish his aggressive treatments at McMaster Children’s Hospital some time in April.

“The doctors can’t give an exact end date because it depends on he responds to and heals from treatments,” Lisa explained.

But when he is finished, Tristan will celebrate the end of his chemotherapy with a victory trip to Lego Land in Florida.

Lisa said there is still a 20 per cent chance that the cancer might return.

“But we’re focusing on the 80 per cent chance that it won’t,” she said.

A pasta fundraiser will be held in Tristan’s honour on Sunday, Feb. 28. Proceeds will support his family. The dinner will be held at 209 Jarvis St., from noon to 7 p.m.

Tickets are $10 each or $8 each for take-out.

For more information about the fundraiser call Lisa Romeo at 905-993-2245.

sarah.ferguson@sunmedia.ca  



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