Eion will continue to live on in the lives of those he had the opportunity to touch. Hopefully, upon reading his story you will feel Eion’s spirit and he will inspire you to make each day matter…
Eion grew up quickly after his dad, Kevin, passed away when he was only 6 years old. Eion had a caring nature and enjoyed preparing meals for the family and was always thoughtful on special occasions such as birthdays, Mother’s Day and Christmas. Eion adored his mom, Andrea and was best friends with his older brother Richard.
Eion loved sports, He started to find his niche in wresting, football and rugby during high school. He also developed a love of fishing, wildlife, board games and card tricks (he was actually pretty good!). It was during these years that Eion bonded with his very large and supportive group of friends.
Suddenly, in the fall of 2013 at the age of 16, Eion was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, stage 2, after a large lump started growing in his throat and chest area. He had to undergo 3 months of chemotherapy as the tumour was inoperable because it was too close to his heart, lungs, spine and thyroid.The doctors gave Eion an 80% chance of survival which seemed devastating but those odds were actually quite good. It was at this time that Eion told his mother that he was not afraid to die, but he was afraid of what would happen to her if he did.
Eion was a trooper, spending the first couple of months sleeping in a reclining chair as his doctors were concerned that the tumour would collapse his esophagus if he slept in his own bed. Nausea and fatigue impacted his activities, as did the weeks of radiation that followed at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH). This was like having a sunburn on the inside of his throat. The pain and discomfort lasted well beyond the treatment.
Fortunately, remission occurred in the spring of 2014. Life could finally return to normal. Eion went back to high school in the fall and graduated a year after his peers. He then ventured off to Algonquin college to learn the plumbing trade. Eion enjoyed college and furthered his love of sports and increased his friend pool this year.
While searching for a plumbing apprenticeship Eion found work with a landscape company which he really enjoyed. It was during this transition to adult life that it became noticeable that Eion was a great listener. He was never judgemental of his friend’s or family’s choices. His favourite saying became, “You do you” and he meant it.
Life unfortunately, took an unimaginable twist in February 2017. Eion had been feeling unusually tired. A number of investigations resulted in a devastating diagnosis of Leukaemia (ALL). His chances of survival were now 40%. Eion spent the next month in PMH undergoing intensive chemotherapy and receiving regular blood and platelet transfusions to sustain his blood levels. His treatment was unfortunately further
complicated when he developed a blood clot in his neck. Daily blood thinner injections were added to his regime. Pain, nausea and fatigue were all too common a reality for Eion. In early March Eion was in remission once again and was finally allowed to return home. Despite frequent appointments to PMH for monitoring his blood, platelets and hydration he loved to be back home.
Unfortunately, Eion’s health did not quite return to normal. Near the end of June, Eion was given the horrendous news that his cancer was showing signs of returning and that his only chance would be a stem cell transplant. At his point Eion’s mother, Andrea took a leave from work to be by his side to help support him in his battle. Eion was admitted to PMH . A perfect unrelated match was found. In mid July Eion was undergoing the final tests to make sure that he was healthy enough to withstand the transplant. Shockingly his bone marrow sample threw a curve no one was expecting, A new more aggressive form of leukemia was now present (AML). The transplant could not proceed as planned as Eion was no longer in remission and the possibility for remission was remote.
It was with this concern that Eion’s doctors aggressively began lobbying to have him accepted into a trial study for a non-remission stem cell transplant. Their determination was successful in having Eion included, but disappointingly, the trial stipulated that the bone marrow needed to be from a related donor rather than that of his previous perfect match. Luckily, his mom was a partial match at 60%. The transplant was booked for early October, following intensive chemotherapy and radiation to eliminate his own bone marrow. Chance of survival would be 10-12%.
Finally, in mid November after over 2 months in hospital, Eion was well enough to go home. Regular visits to the hospital continued. On December 12th, the day before Eion’s 21st birthday, he was given the amazing news that his bone marrow had 99.5% donor growth. This joy was sadly short lived as Eion found a lump in his neck a few days
later. More tests were ordered. Despite the uncertainty, Eion enjoyed being home at Christmas with his family and friends. Everything was fine until Eion took very ill on New Years Day. An infection was detected and Eion was admitted back to PMH.
On January 12th the doctors tragically informed Eion and his family that his bone marrow now had 99% leukemia cells! Shockingly, his prognosis was considered to be days to weeks!
Eion decided he wanted to tell all his friends himself; he wanted people to be as normal as possible around him. The maturity and graciousness that Eion drew upon to inform each of his friends was so incredibly touching. It was so beyond his years and it was truly a gift that he gave to each and everyone of them. Eion wanted to travel, however, the reality of his limitations set in and he chose to go on an overnight trip with his buddies and brother to the casino in Niagara. Eion and the guys had an amazing experience that will always be cherished.
Eion quietly passed away 3 days later on the morning of January 23rd in the presence of his mother, brother and aunt.
Eion had told his mom he did not want a funeral but a party with food and drink for his family and friends. When his mom asked him if he wanted to have the party so he could be a part of it, he said,”No, I will be there anyway!”
During the entire year, Eion never gave up believing he would beat cancer. He was constantly making plans for the future. Everyone who knew Eion was touched by his positivity and calmness. He had an ability to make you feel at ease, even when things were looking bleak. Eion was always positive and did not let his disease control the person he was or limit the things that he did.
Eion was, and always will be, the essence of true resiliency.