The parents of 12-year-old Halle Krawczyk of Salmon Arm received welcome news on Dec. 7, 2020 that the Medical Services Plan has reversed its decision and would fund her surgery in the United States for a rare cancer. However, the family is told they are still faced with at least $150,000 in additional expenses to be incurred during the six months in the U.S. throughout the surgery and recovery. (Contributed)

The parents of 12-year-old Halle Krawczyk of Salmon Arm received welcome news on Dec. 7, 2020 that the Medical Services Plan has reversed its decision and would fund her surgery in the United States for a rare cancer. However, the family is told they are still faced with at least $150,000 in additional expenses to be incurred during the six months in the U.S. throughout the surgery and recovery. (Contributed)

MSP to fund Salmon Arm girl’s surgery to combat rare cancer after reversing decision

Medical Services Plan reverses decision to not help with U.S. cost, parents still face $150,000 bill

Having a child diagnosed with cancer is an emotional roller coaster at best, but the Krawczyk family has just reached an unexpected high.

Monday afternoon, Dec. 7, 12-year-old Halle Krawczyk’s Vancouver oncologist informed the family that the Medical Services Plan (MSP) has reversed its decision to not fund Halle’s surgeries for ‘poorly differentiated chordoma,’ a rare and deadly cancer that affects one in 20 million people.

Although Carolyn and Matt initially expected the three required operations with a world-renowned surgeon in Pittsburgh would be more than $100,000, they learned Dec. 4 that the surgeries would actually cost a minimum of $325,000 Cdn.

With associated bills in Canada while not being able to work, along with hotel accommodation, transportation, medical insurance and more during the six months in the U.S., the family was looking at a total cost of at least $500,000.

They are thrilled with the news.

Although the Krawczyks are still left with at least $150,000 in immediate expenses following the MSP’s change of heart, Carolyn and Matt’s first concern was about those people who have been or will be donating money.

“We do not want anyone to be misled in their giving!” Carolyn wrote in an email to the Observer as soon as she received the news.

Read more: Salmon Arm parents raise funds for surgery to combat daughter’s rare cancer

Read more: UPDATE: Surgery, related costs increase fundraising goal for Salmon Arm girl

Read more: 2018 – Update: Drug for young Shuswap girl with cancer to be made available

Leading up to this, the family had been told that the doctor and his team in Pittsburgh are best qualified to perform the rare pediatric surgery. However, MSP had told them that the surgery can’t be funded because the Canadian policy is that if a doctor in Canada can do the surgery, then it won’t be covered in the United States, Carolyn said.

Although that might be a good policy for some surgeries, this one is different, she had said, noting that Canada just doesn’t have the experience. The U.S. sees many more cases of chordoma, with just five per cent of them pediatric. Halle’s form of chordoma is even more rare.

As well as two surgeries removing the rapidly growing tumours on two upper vertebrae and on the clivus behind her nose, she must also have a spinal fusion. Proton beam radiation following the three needed operations could then prolong her life indefinitely.

“We’ve got one chance, we don’t want to mess it up,” Carolyn said.

She explained that she and Matt have been focusing so hard on advocating for the surgery for Halle that tallying all the additional upcoming costs has been secondary.

“We’ve been in total fight mode to just try to get Halle help that we haven’t been able to focus on all the things we need to. Hopefully we can do that now.”

Right now, gratitude is the prevailing emotion: “The great news is we know Halle gets her best shot at beating this!!!”


marthawickett@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CancerSalmon Arm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A BC Hydro outage is affecting nearly 4000 customers in Kitimat. The cause of the outage is under investigation. (Screenshot/BC Hydro Outage Map)
Cable fault responsible for Kitimat power outage, BC Hydro says

At its peak, the BC Hydro power outage affected near 4,000 customers

Graph showing the 2020 passenger totals at the Northwest Regional Airport in Terrace. (Submitted/Northwest Regional Airport)
New year brings an end to a turbulent 2020 at Northwest Regional Airport

Passenger totals half of what they were in 2019

Wireless voice and data services are out for those on Telus as of Thursday (Jan. 14) afternoon across Western Canada, Telus Support said in a recent Tweet. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATE: Telus services restored across Western Canada

Telus said they are monitoring the situation to ensure connections remain stable

The leisure pool at the Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre will be open Thursday and closed Friday for maintenance, the DoK said in an updated Facebook post Thursday (Jan. 14). (Kitimat Leisure Services photo)
UPDATE: Leisure pool at Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre open Thursday, closed Friday

The leisure pool will be closed Friday (Jan. 15) for maintenance due to a mechanical issue

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Two toucans sit on tree at an unidentified zoo. (Pixabay.com)
BC SPCA calls for ban on exotic animal trade after 50 parrots, toucans pass through YVR

One toucan was found dead and several others were without food

Most Read