Growing up, Pia Copeland had a love and passion for dance. Through this, she had always known structure and the freedom in spirited activities.
At age 15 Pia began experiencing constant fatigue, hindering her from dancing which was the first indication of something amiss. After a few days, the lymph nodes on her neck became swollen and hard. Just three weeks after Pia’s 15th birthday, she received a diagnosis that changed the course of her life. Pia was diagnosed with Leukemia.
Her treatment began immediately at BC Children’s Hospital. Living in Surrey meant travelling back and forth to Vancouver each time for Pia’s treatment, which quickly became an exhausting process. After receiving treatment at BC Children’s Hospital, Pia’s care was transferred over to the Joseph Chung Pediatric Oncology Unit located inside the Children’s Health Centre at Surrey Memorial Hospital in December 2021. Having her treatments provided close to home alleviated a huge stressor on Pia and her family. Pia was able to complete her chemotherapy treatments in the morning in the Children’s Health Centre, followed by a short walk to meet with the radiology team to discuss her upcoming radiation treatments at the BC Cancer Agency also located inside Surrey Memorial Hospital. Saving time and a great deal of energy for Pia, her family is grateful to have this care just down the road from their home.
“You get to know the nurses and it’s just nice knowing who’s taking care of you,” says Pia about the Pediatric Oncology Unit at Surrey Memorial Hospital. “Everyone overall is just nice, especially the Child Life Specialists who sit down with you, chat, and make you overall feel really comfortable.” Pia feels a great deal of support from the staff who often provide activities to keep her occupied during long, exhausting hours of treatment.
Pia has practiced the art of dance since age five. Going to school then practicing every day created structure in her young life. Now, as she undergoes continued treatment, Pia has found new hobbies in art and baking and continues to seek other creative activities until she can begin to dance again.
Pia is one of many youth who are able to receive life-saving treatments close to home. With generous donor support, Surrey Hospitals Foundation continues to support pediatric services as a priority investment area, so more kids can receive the care they need right here in Surrey.