Nine-year-old returns home after 10 months fighting leukemia in hospital

Justice Granger and his pet dog Pugsley in their backyard at the 108 Mile. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Justice Granger prepares to do a front flip on his family's trampoline (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
(Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
(Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
(Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
(Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
(Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
(Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

After 10 months in BC Children’s Hospital fighting leukemia for the third time, Justice Granger is back home in 108 Mile Ranch.

The nine-year-old, who has Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, underwent a bone marrow transplant last August, thanks to his big sister Serenity, 11, who was a 50 per cent match.

He returned home in late February, just in time for his sister’s birthday.

On April 23, Justice will have his central line, used for administering chemotherapy, removed, closing the chapter on his third and hopefully final bout with cancer.

While he didn’t want to talk about his treatment, Justice said he felt healthy and happy to be home.

“We try to get out every day and walk around whenever we can,” he said. “Once we get my line out we hope to go swimming.”

His mom, Coreen Granger, said a bone marrow transplant was the only option for Justice, who was diagnosed with blood cancer when he was two years old. He underwent chemotherapy twice to get rid of it but it kept returning. A whole new immune system was needed.

“It was supposed to be the most highly treatable, 90 per cent perfect prognosis, so when he was first diagnosed we had hoped it wouldn’t come back,” Granger said, adding that each diagnosis was terrifying and devastating for the family.

“Each subsequent time it’s been the exact same leukemia and his immune system wasn’t able to fight it off.”

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Thanks to all the walking the family had been doing around Vancouver prior to the transplant, the surgeon told Serenity her steady blood pressure was that of an athlete’s when she went in to donate.

Granger said a transplant is always a complicated process, but due to a few complications, including Justice losing his right lower lung to a fungal infection, their stay ended up being far longer than usual.

After the transplant, they feared Justice had a second fungal infection in his other lung, which could have been deadly, but it turned out to be chronic graft versus host disease which was treated with steroids.

Although Granger said Justice was happy to go back to the hospital because he got to play video games, by the end of it he was really keen to come home and run around outside with his dog, Pugsley – a birthday gift he received last November while in hospital.

Justice said almost every single doctor at the hospital knew him and would say hello and ask after Pugsley.

Serenity said she’s happy to have Justice back home, as she’ll “finally be able to have a normal-ish brother.” The two have another sibling, Lovemika, 5.

Granger said beyond the power of prayer, what got their family through this ordeal was taking things one day at a time and living in the moment.

Accepting help from the community was also key, as it allowed them to focus on their son’s care, she said.

The family has lived in the 108 Mile Ranch community for the past 15 years. Granger said she loves the safety of the community and the friendliness of its people. Serenity added she loves the natural beauty of the area.

“The friendliness was really shown hugely when Justice got sick,” Granger said. “Each of the three times, the community came behind us and supported and encouraged us. It was absolutely phenomenal what they did.”

100 Mile House

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