Cassy Mann

Cassy Mann

cassy mann

  • Hometown: London, Ontario
  • Year of Diagnosis: 2008
  • Diagnosis: Ewing Sarcoma

In early February 2008, Cassy was waking up each morning claiming she had pulled a muscle in her back while she was sleeping. We would laugh and say how impossible that sounded. We would give her hot packs, cold packs, massages and A5-35 to try to help with the pain. Nothing seemed to be working. Cassy went to Ottawa for March break and returned worse than when she left. She was having a difficult time breathing and we began to wonder if she had broken a rib. We took her to a walk- in clinic who ordered x-rays. A few days later, our family doctor called and said he would like to see Cassy to check her symptoms for possible pneumonia as there was something on the x-ray. After the visit with the doctor, it was apparent there were no signs of pneumonia but there had clearly been something on the x-ray. Cassy was sent for a bone scan and was immediately referred to one of the top surgeons at Children’s Hospital in London. This was very confusing as we could not understand why we needed to see a surgeon for a broken rib. After seeing the surgeon, she was concerned and sent Cassy for a CT scan. This was where we knew things were more serious than a broken rib, but still had no idea what we were in for. On May 20, 2008, we sat in a room at the hospital awaiting the results of a CT scan. Little did we know the news we were about to receive, would literally turn our world upside down as we knew it. Forever in our memory are the words of the doctor “I’m sorry, I wish I had good news for you, but I don’t. Your daughter has a tumor on her rib, Ewing Sarcoma.”

When Cassy began her chemo treatments, it was a very scary experience. But it didn’t take long for Cassy to adapt to her environment and make it her own. Cassy would often be seen zipping down the halls on her IV pole, hanging with her new friends or hanging out with the nurses at night at their stations. She was a trooper to say the least. The support from friends, family and the community were overwhelming. This Included the staff at the hospital, they became family.

In January 2009, Cassy was free and clear. We were free from hospitals and Cancer…Until February, she began to complain, once again of the pain. It was evident the cancer had returned. New tumours on her lung were discovered. Unfortunately, this time the chemo or radiation would not be successful.

Six weeks prior to her passing, Cassy made a “wish list”, and our family set out on the mission of working through her wishes. Her requests were so typical of a teenager, they made us smile when we read them. They were things that people take for granted, and yet they were incredibly important to Cassy.

The accomplishments made – Family vacation to Jamaica with Make a Wish, tattoo with her best friend, belly piercing, High school for a day with her big brother, learned to drive with Uncle Bob, an amazing weekend at a cottage with the entire family, Grade 8 grad (only in grade 7, but made it happen, Hummer Limo and all!!!), Spa day with mom and of course a Hawaiian Luau for her 13th birthday Party.

Cassy faced and fought her battle with cancer with amazing tenacity and bravery and was a true inspiration to all. She was a spontaneous, spunky and vibrant young lady who loved her friends and family passionately. She loved music, Twilight books and helping younger children. On July 12, 2009, four days after her 13th birthday, Cassy passed away with her loving family and best friend at her side.  There were many life lessons learned through this journey. Our family learned the true value of friendship, community support and the love of family. We also learned not to take the small things for granted.

Cassy’s Aunt Deb and family “named a star” in her name for her 13th birthday. Stars became the re-occurring theme when it came to Cassy.  We continue to cope but we know her spirit is strong (just like always) and when we look to the heavens and see the sparkling stars that have become our symbol of faith and hope, we can now smile.

She was and always will be our “SHINING STAR IN THE ‘MIDST OF DARKNESS”

Our Featured Ambassador

This is Josh Nelson – a childhood cancer survivor. He knows about facing all the challenges of childhood cancer:

“I know first-hand how it feels to be a prisoner in the hospital and endure the surgeries and the endless needles and treatments. I know how it feels to lose my hair, throw up regularly and watch other kids around me earn their wings. I lost a part of my childhood that I will never get back. I know how it feels to look different and to be different. That’s something that I wouldn’t wish for any other kid to go through, and that is why I do what I do.”

Read more about Josh’s journey »

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