“Lauryn DeMarse ~Thomas DeMarse’s daughter, Glebe Montessori School, Greta Leeming Dance, RCM piano, Julian of Norwich Anglican, my shining star and inspiration.
When Tom was diagnosed with anaplastic astrocytoma in April of 2019, Lauryn shared her favourite teddy, “Bear” to support her Daddy through inpatient chemoradiotherapy at the Lineberger Cancer Centre, UNC. She was there to challenge him with Jenga games, endless rounds of tickle-cuddles, and post-rehabilitation Starbucks refreshers. Her lemonade stand yielded $50 for the Head for the Cure Foundation in September of 2019. Lauryn’s daily trip to the park with snacks was the best form of rehabilitation. While Lauryn and I needed to return to Canada during the pandemic, Lauryn continued to play games, watch movies, read, and review homework with her Daddy daily through Facetime.
Following resection surgery for recurrence in January of 2021, Lauryn worked math facts and encouraged her Daddy’s physiotherapy. When Tom’s position as Research Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, at UNC ended in February of 2021, Lauryn scouted options and contacted Dr. Khagi to facilitate his healthcare in Pensacola, Florida where he would live with her Auntie Lisa and Uncle Randy. Within weeks of moving, Tom was hospitalized due to complications, and Lauryn brightened his days with virtual piano and ukulele concerts. She was a pillar of support as I travelled to Florida to be with Tom through end-stage glioma. Lauryn made Father’s Day memorable with a cozy unicorn-kitty blanket and virtual movie. When Tom’s condition declined, and he was transferred to intensive care, Lauryn noted that it was ok if Daddy needed to go; she didn’t want him to suffer. I was reminded not to shed a tear in front of Daddy and she reminded him of how much he was loved.
Lauryn completed her Junior Lifesaving in swimming, Royal Academy of Dance Grade 2 Ballet award, Royal Conservatory of Music Grade 3 piano exam, and graduated from grade 6 all while supporting her Dad throughout his illness. At the age of 12, Lauryn has shown tremendous courage, strength, determination, compassion, love, support and resilience. She follows in her father’s footsteps in improving the lives of others on our journey. By sharing her story, we hope it may inspire others to keep the faith in the face of adversity. In faith, honour and gratitude ~Lauryn’s Mommy