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Canon Beazley

During the early months of 2022, the Beazley family from Dartmouth, NS, were celebrating the completion of 12-year-old Canon’s cancer treatment. However, this celebration was short-lived as Canon, while physically healthy, began experiencing panic attacks. This marked the beginning of his mental health journey. 

A year earlier, Canon was diagnosed with a Stage 1 Wilms Tumour (the most common kidney cancer in children). He underwent surgery to remove his left kidney and immediately began chemotherapy. He endured 26 weeks of treatment and was finally able to “ring the bell” at the IWK, signifying the end of his treatment in late November 2021.

Life had returned to normal for Canon, and his family was thrilled to see him enjoying his regular activities. But one day, seemingly out of the blue, Canon experienced a debilitating panic attack while warming up for a hockey game. Canon was very scared — his heart was pounding and racing very fast. He asked his mom, Shelly, to take him to the IWK’s emergency department. After a thorough examination, including multiple tests, no physical reasons for his symptoms were identified.

Unfortunately, these panic attack episodes continued, accompanied by intermittent palpitations throughout his days. Canon also began experiencing feelings of derealization and depersonalization. This is when it feels like you are observing yourself from outside your body or sense that things around you aren’t real. It can feel like you’re living in a dream. These symptoms made it a struggle for Canon to socialize, go to school, paddle, play hockey, and participate in activities he normally loved doing.

Canon was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) stemming from his cancer experience. He began regularly scheduled therapy sessions, medication to manage his anxiety and follow-up with his care team members. His family immediately noticed a big change. He became more present, able to function, and could actively participate in his therapy.

Canon spent eight months receiving treatment and almost a year working through his story and learning coping skills. This holistic team approach has enabled Canon to re-engage in life fully. Today, he’s doing great and is back to doing all the things that make him a happy kid, including regular fund-raising activities for the IWK — his way of saying THANKS!


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