From Melissa Payne’s Youtube Channel and Strong Heart Song Video:
In less than a year, cancer would change the lives of three Peterborough, Ontario families forever. Harrison McKinnon, Eliza Vivian, and Neave Alderson were all diagnosed with various forms of cancer between November 2015 and July 2016. Strong Heart is a tribute to not only Eliza, Neave, and mighty Harrison, who fought relentlessly until losing his battle in June 2017, but also to all of the young warriors who have come before and who will unfortunately come after them. The proceeds from this song will be donated to the SickKids Foundation. Buy the song here: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/str… And donate here: http://my.sickkidsdonations.com/Stron…
Music credits// Written by: Melissa Payne Composed by: Melissa Payne, Maia Davies Engineered and Produced by: James Mckenty Vocals/guitar: Melissa Payne Fiddle: Natalie MacMaster Viola: Jimmy Bowskill Piano: Rob Phillips Harmony vocal: Evangeline Gentle Video Credits// Producer & Director: Megan Murphy Co-Producer, Cinematographer & Editor: Rob Viscardis Special Thanks// Eliza Vivian, Mary Payne, Chris Vivian Neave Alderson, Kate Murphy, Shane Alderson Harrison, Shannon & Barrett McKinnon Lisa Cherendoff Ariana Ayoub Natasha Roulston, PRHC Foundation
It is a parents worst nightmare and Shannon McKinnon is remarkable for sharing her family’s story to help raise awareness and funding for childhood cancer.
She is able to articulate her grief and loss in hopes to raise awareness about the reality of childhood cancer. September is Childhood cancer awareness month, it is also the month of her first born’s birthday. Her biggest fear is that her son, Harrison will be forgotten.
Harrison Ivor McKinnon was born on September 15, 2014, but complications from aggressive cancer treatment claimed his life in June 2017.
Shannon lives in a small Ontario community called Ennismore. Ironically, three other children from the same community, were diagnosed with cancer around the same time as Harrison. Eliza and Neave, are both doing well.
The families share a bond of trauma, and heartache. They have banded together to help raise awareness about childhood cancer. Eliza and Harrison often played together in between treatments, because they live just kilometres away from each other.
Neave would often cuddle Jack, Harrison’s younger brother while she waited for her radiation treatment and Harrison had his.
Eliza’s aunt, well known and accomplished song writer Melissa Payne wrote a beautiful song, called Strong Heart.
A beautiful video was produced by Naeve’s aunt Meghan Murphy. The video features candid images of the three families managing the horror of childhood cancer and treatment. Downloads of the “Strong Heart” raises money for Sick Kids. You can download the song HERE.
Shannon and her husband Barrett are also fundraising for a group called The Children’s Oncology Group Foundation.
I asked Shannon how do we choose which group to donate to and she said the money is really all funnelled to the same place in hopes to create more appropriate and “smarter” drugs for kids with cancer. The big goal for all three families is to raise awareness about the reality of childhood cancer and to fundraise so smarter treatment options are created. Shannon also recommends donating blood to help or becoming a stem cell transplant donor. Sharing this video, host a garage sale, golf tournament, contact a corporation looking to donate money to a great cause or whatever you choose to help raise awareness about childhood cancer is be helpful and appreciated.
The MF’s Trans Canada Nissan Drive By is powerful and emotional. The stories Shannon shares about what Harrison said leading up to his death will rattle you. The power of the community coming together and helping each other is incredibly inspiring.
Harrison often told his parents, “The Storm’s coming”. They really had no idea what he meant, but on the night of Harrison’s death a massive storm hit. Jay Callaghan, is a self proclaimed “weather geek” and despite being tired that June evening, he forced himself out to capture images of the powerful storm. Barrett, Harrison’s Dad saw the photos online and contacted Jay to tell him about Harrison’s premonition of the storm coming. Jay sold the images online and raised $1,500. $750 went to Children’s Oncology Group Foundation and $750 to Sick Kids Strong Heart campaign.
Please watch this MF’s Trans Canada Nissan Drive By and share it. Shannon’s bravery to share her story and advocate for her son’s legacy is incredible. Shannon says, it took her son dying for her to truly realize not to sweat the small stuff.
Let’s help make Harrison’s legacy a meaningful one and let’s increase the survival rate of kids who are diagnosed and decrease the number of those who are diagnosed with cancer. Let’s fund smart treatments. We need child specific treatments. Children’s bodies are different than adults. We need a treatment that does not eradicate the immune system and make these patients vulnerable to deathly infections.
To follow Strong Heart on Facebook, click HERE.
To donate to The Children’s Oncology Foundation Click HERE.
To donate blood you can click HERE.
To become a stem cell transplant donor click HERE.
*As always thank you to our sponsor Trans Canada Nissan for sponsoring MF’s Drive By’s.