Helen Stock Legacy Bursary 2023-2024 Recipients

Our 2023-2024 Helen Stock Legacy Bursary awards $5,000 to each of our recipients, to help them in their post-secondary studies. Childhood Cancer does not just affect your entire family in the moment, it changes your entire life in so many ways. Financially, it can put a strain on a family for many years, during and after treatment, as they work their way back to their new normal. Families give up everything for their child that is battling cancer. Many find themselves in a challenging financial situation long after childhood cancer treatments have ended. This bursary is a way for Helping Families Handle Cancer to aid the recipients in achieving their goals and can allow them to be in a better financial position moving forward.

We are so thrilled to announce the recipients of our second annual Helen Stock Legacy Bursary! For our parent bursary we would like to congratulate Lola Eboru, Jessica Hepburn, and Sarah Wiebe. For the first time ever, we have added a sibling bursary to our program, and would therefore like to congratulate Danica Marks, Matthias Preusser and Meryem Karayunusoglu.


Parent Bursaries


Photography by: Empire Images

Lola Eboru | Ambrose University

In 2019, Lola faced an unimaginable tragedy when she lost her first child to a brain tumor while residing in Nigeria. This devastating loss plunged her family into profound grief and pain. In 2020, Lola and her husband made the life-altering decision to immigrate to Canada, seeking to rebuild their lives.

Shortly after their move, Lola’s surviving child was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, requiring her full-time care. This diagnosis left Lola unable to continue her career as a physiotherapist, as her primary focus became caring for her child.

Tragedy struck again in October 2022 when Lola’s second son, Jaden, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Jaden underwent a grueling 7.5-hour surgery followed by six weeks of radiation therapy. Witnessing her son’s unwavering determination has inspired her to transform her experience into a catalyst for meaningful change. She is dedicating her life’s work to helping people navigate traumatic events. Her approach centers on holistic care, including spiritual well-being.

With unwavering determination, Lola aspires to become a psychospiritual Care Practitioner, drawing from her personal experiences to support others facing trauma. She is committed to empowering individuals with resilience and compassion. Lola is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Leadership and Ministry at Ambrose University.


                                                                                                                                 Photography by: Empire Images

Jessica Hepburn | Olds College

Jessica welcomed her daughter, Sadie, into the world in August 2022, completing her family. Just two days after Sadie’s birth, a lump was discovered in her right arm. Four months later, she received a diagnosis of Infantile Myofibromatosis with a PDGFRB mutation. Although this is not technically classified as cancer, it entails a similar treatment protocol and duration as cancer. Despite her young age, Sadie has endured an array of medical procedures, including 4 MRI scans, 4 x-rays, 2 ultrasounds, 10 blood draws, 1 biopsy, 1 PICC line, 8 rounds of chemotherapy, isolation, and 18 weeks in a cast. Sadie has shown immense resilience throughout this journey.

In May 2023, Jessica and her family made the difficult decision to pause treatment, as there wasn’t a noticeable change in Sadie’s tumor. They are currently working to establish a new treatment plan for her. This challenging diagnosis prompted Jessica to relocate from Edmonton to Calgary for medical care. She also realized due to Sadie’s health, it would be challenging to maintain her commission-based job.

The road ahead is uncertain, with Sadie’s prognosis still unclear. However, the family is prepared to face any challenges that come their way, standing strong together. Jessica’s dedication to her studies and her dreams of moving her family to their Rocky Mountain House family farm reflect her unwavering commitment to creating a better future for her loved ones.

Jessica’s passion for animals and the therapeutic value they provide has led her to pursue a new career path. This career change not only aligns with her interests but also offers a comparable income and greater flexibility. Most importantly it will enable her to pivot quickly when faced with new challenges and allow her to be more present for her family. Jessica is now studying to become an Equine Reproduction Technician at Olds College.


                                                                                                                               Photography by: Empire Images


Sarah Wiebe | Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

An ordinary day turned into a life-altering moment when Sarah accompanied her 18-month-old daughter for an abdominal scan. As she watched the sonographer examine her daughter’s extremely enlarged kidneys and measure various lesions and masses, Sarah recognized the significance of what she was witnessing as she is currently studying to be an ultrasound technician (Diagnostic Medical Sonographer) at SAIT.

Three agonizing days later, the call from the nephrologist shattered her world. As a mother, Sarah embarked on a tumultuous journey that only those who have witnessed a child’s battle with cancer can truly comprehend. The two-year journey that followed was filled with chemotherapy, hospital visits, admissions, and countless medical procedures. She faced heart-wrenching decisions and made the ultimate sacrifice of leaving her education goals to take care of her family.

In October 2022, Sarah’s daughter completed chemotherapy, bringing a glimmer of hope to their lives. The joy of this achievement was short-lived, as their youngest daughter fell seriously ill at just five weeks old. Initially diagnosed with a simple fever, her condition rapidly deteriorated into a life-threatening situation when her daughter turned septic. Once again, medical imaging played a crucial role in identifying and diagnosing the issue, reaffirming Sarah’s belief in the lifesaving power of imaging.

With two remarkable daughters who have faced extraordinary medical challenges, Sarah is resolute in her determination to set an example of resilience. She has accepted a seat to resume her studies in the sonography program at SAIT.


Sibling Bursaries


                                                                                                                             Photography by: Empire Images

Danica Marks | Dalhousie University

At the age of two, Danica’s world was forever altered when her baby sister, Larissa Julianna, was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme (brain cancer) in her left parietal lobe. The parietal lobe is vital for sensory perception and integration, including the management of taste, hearing, sight, touch, and smell. For the following three months, Danica and her family became familiar faces at the hospital. During an age when Danica should just be focused on being a kid, she adapted well to this new hospital life, forming bonds with nurses and the siblings of other young cancer patients.

Sadly, Larissa’s battle came to an end in early 2007, leaving a profound impact on Danica and her family. This devastating experience led to Danica developing a severe and chronic anxiety disorder, a challenge she has faced throughout her life. The shadow of her sister’s illness and passing continues to influence Danica’s choices and decisions. These events have also taken a toll on her family’s mental well-being and financial stability.

Despite the hardships, Danica has dedicated herself to her passion for music, refining her piano skills over the years and lending her voice to the Dalhousie University’s Dalhousie Chorus. Now, with this bursary, we take pride in supporting Danica’s aspirations of becoming a neuroscientist, specializing in the study of brain cancers.


                                                                                                                               Photography by: Empire Images

Matthias Preusser | University of Calgary

Matthias faced a life-altering moment in 2017 when his younger brother, Evan, was hospitalized and diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at the age of ten. Nearly two years later, Evan experienced a relapse, leading to multiple rounds of chemotherapy. The year 2020 brought some hope as Evan received a blood stem cell transplant from their father. However, this procedure came with its own set of complications, necessitating a four-month hospitalization. Presently, Matthias’ brother is in remission.

The emotional toll on Matthias during this challenging period cannot be overstated. He grappled with feelings of helplessness as he watched his younger brother endure unimaginable pain and illness. Evan’s illness and treatment placed a significant financial burden on their family, with his parents unable to work during various periods of Evan’s treatment.

In April 2022, Matthias embarked on his own path to contribute to his family’s future and his dreams. He joined the Wilder Institute Calgary Zoo workforce, dedicating his weekends during the school year and full-time hours during the summer to save for his university education. Throughout his high school journey, Matthias consistently achieved Honours each semester and contributed as a member of his school’s robotics team.

With the support of this bursary, Matthias plans to continue pursuing his passion for robotics by studying Mechanical Engineering, with a minor in Mechatronics at the University of Calgary. His ultimate aspiration is to establish his own engineering firm specializing in robotics for medical applications. Having witnessed his brother undergo numerous painful IV insertions, Matthias envisions creating an infrared device that can automate the vein detection process and an automated system to facilitate painless IV placement for patients.


                                                                                                                               Photography by: Nicole Breanne


Meryem Karayunusoglu | University of Toronto

Meryem originates from Turkmenistan, where she spent her early years. In November 2020, her world took an unexpected turn when her sister, Sylvia, received a leukemia diagnosis. As the eldest of her three siblings and with her father residing abroad, Meryem took on the role of supporting her family.

Amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, only Meryem’s mother was permitted to visit and stay with Sylvia in the hospital. This left Meryem responsible for caring for her other two siblings. Her family duties became even more demanding when it became evident that Sylvia needed a bone marrow transplant, for which Meryem was a suitable match. This led her to take a temporary hiatus from her university studies so she could be the donor.

After six months, her mother required respite, and Meryem stepped in. Despite the challenging circumstances of no other visitors and limited entertainment, she provided unwavering companionship to her sister.

In October 2021, her family made the life-changing decision to relocate to Canada to reunite with their father, and Sylvia resumed her treatment here. While the journey has been devastating for her family Meryem showed resiliency.

In addition to her remarkable support for her family, Meryem has achieved proficiency in five languages: Turkish, Turkmen, and English, and has made strides in learning Russian and French. With this bursary, she is embarking on a path to resume her studies as a Physics major at the University of Toronto.