She developed a fever, started hallucinating, and developed unexplained bruises all over her body.
She was brought to Health Sciences North by her parents, Dave and Terra Kruk, and later airlifted to Toronto's Sick Kids Hospital, where she was diagnosed with leukemia APL, a rare form of the condition.
Karissa had an “astronomical” white blood cell count, so she was given chemotherapy right away in an attempt to reduce her white blood cells, family friend Tammy North said.
While Karissa's white blood cell count is almost normal after receiving a handful of chemotherapy doses, she now has some other health issues.
“The following day, they did a CAT scan, and found a bleed in her brain,” North said.
“They hoped with chemotherapy that would diminish, but it's still the same ... She also has what they think is a blood clot in arm. Her arm is swollen. Her platelets are still low, and her blood pressure is quite high at the moment.”
Karissa is a “special” girl, North said. As one of seven siblings ranging in age from nearly a year old to 19 years old, she's become somewhat of a “mother hen,” keeping her younger sisters and brother entertained, she said.
The Kruk family is a “precious, sweet family,” North said.
“They're so giving, so loving,” she said. “Terra's one of my best friends. They're just a sweet family. There's no other better way to describe. They love God, and wear their hearts on their sleeves.”
The Kruks are currently staying in a two-bedroom apartment at Ronald McDonald House in Toronto.
North, along with other volunteers, is attempting to raise funds to cover travel expenses, meals, accommodations, long-distance phone charges and future medical expenses incurred by the family because of Karissa's illness.
“Yesterday, my friend and I went and dropped off 23 Mason jars with Karissa's picture and a description of Karissa and the family and what's happening at 23 local businesses,” North said.
A car wash and yard sale benefitting the cause will also be held at Assante, located at 363 Falconbridge Rd., from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. July 21.
Donations can also be made at a TD Bank trust fund set up for Karissa. The account number is 04566448415.
Businesses that would like to have a donation jar or individuals who would like donations picked up are asked to contact North at [email protected] or 705-693-1517.
Posted by Arron Pickard