For Serena Bonneville, when she needed help, BC Children’s Hospital was home.
“When I was diagnosed at the age of 16, I didn’t see it coming at all,” she said, now 21 years old, during an interview with Sonia Sunger on Global BC’s Morning Show in March. “It was essentially the hospital that became my home after that. It was where I lost my hair, it was where I studied, and it was where I overcame the biggest trauma of my life.
“It was my home.”
WATCH: Serena Bonneville on Global BC – Fighting Leukemia with the help of BC Children’s Hospital
Diagnosed with Leukemia when she was still a teenager, while her friends were preparing to graduate high school, Serena was able to beat her diagnosis and – five years later – is now a Communications student at Simon Fraser University.
Serena spent her entire Grade 12 year at BC Children’s Hospital. She lived there through her 17th birthday and, as an aspiring, talented writer, started her own blog and website where she could share her emotions and experiences.
“I started a blog called Breeding Optimism… as an outlet for myself, to kinda keep myself sane through it all,” she told Sonia. “And it really just turned into a way of connecting with other young cancer patients and helping each other and supporting us through the journey.”
She’s thankful that, in that turbulent year, she had the support of the hospital and its incredible staff:
“The nurses essentially were replacing my friends back at home. They were in school and continuing on with their life. Whereas my life was essentially put on hold. The hospital was where I continued on with what little of my old life I had. It was where I had my birthday and the nurses were the ones that were there every day and by my side and I couldn’t have gone through it without them.”
You can read more of Serena’s Story on our website and on BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s website.
The Grand Prize Draw for this year’s Choices Lottery will be held on Global BC’s Noon at Noon on Thursday, May 3rd, 2018. Tune in, and best of luck!
With each and every new lottery, we’re happy to return with our favourite familiar face – BC Children’s Hospital Lottery spokesperson Erin Cebula!
One of this year’s biggest prizes is a grand Grand Prize home in Predator Ridge, located in the resort community’s newest development, The Commonage. Predator Ridge is one of British Columbia’s most desirable places to live, with golf course, wine country, hiking and cycling trails, restaurants and spa services sprinkled throughout its sunny Okanagan location.
At just 21, Serena Bonneville exemplifies strength and courage.
She is a gifted athlete who, at just 16, helped lead her soccer team to the provincials. Teachers and students voted her the “head girl” of her school’s student body. If soccer and school work did not take up her schedule completely, Serena was also an active organizer in school activities and starred in the school production of Doubt.
Serena excelled in her studies and was looking into some of the region’s most prestigious universities, when her world came to an abrupt stop. On October 10, 2013, Serena was diagnosed with leukemia and had to put her active lifestyle on hold as she would have to endure months of treatment at BC Children’s Hospital.
Though cancer invaded her body, she still found ways to keep her sanity, such as writing humorous posts about her ordeal in her blog Breeding Optimism.
“These cancer cells really better watch their back,” wrote Serena on October 14, 2013. “They picked the wrong body to mess with.”
Some nine months later, Serena was in maintenance mode, equipped with medications and ready to press play to her “new normal” life. As she promised, she beat her cancer and went on to graduate high school, and is now currently finishing her degree at Simon Fraser University.
You can read all of Serena’s story on her personal blog, Breeding Optimism, where she details her inspiring journey and recovery.
The Choices Lottery raises funds to support BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. More than 86,000 kids rely on the life-saving care at BC Children’s Hospital every year. When you buy a lottery ticket, you’re ensuring that our brightest minds can pursue research that leads to innovative discoveries and treatments. What that really means, though, is that you’re helping more kids live fuller lives.
Erin Cebula takes Arran Henn around this year’s Home in Squamish, B.C. – a first for BC Children’s Hospital Choices Lottery, and 1 of 7 Grand Prize options for 2018!
“For those who love the outdoors, this 5 bedroom, 3,697 square-foot home is located in the heart of one of BC’s most well known recreational areas. And you’re just a short drive to Vancouver’s city charms and Whistler’s mountain magic!”
Erin Cebula takes Arran Henn and the Westcoast Homes crew on a tour through this year’s BC Children’s Hospital Lottery’s White Rock Grand Prize Home – complete with gorgeous, cute interior designs and decorations, a master bedroom with a walk-out patio and ocean view, and our favourite feature – a PlayStation 4 Virtual Reality video games room in the basement!