This year, a brave little boy and his caretakers had an extraordinarily sweet Valentine's Day.
Four-year-old Jackson Twain has received over 100 valentines while undergoing cancer treatment in Toronto.
Jackson's aunt and caretaker Randi-Leigh Pomerleau said that the valentines have been "wonderful," especially while staying at the Ronald Mcdonald House away from Jacksons' parents and siblings in Sudbury.
Courtesy of Randi-Leigh Pomerleau
"It helps us therapeutically, in a way," said Pomerleau.
Jackson has radiation treatment every day on weekdays and what motivates and encourages him to attend is checking the mail afterwards.
"He still has something to look forward to daily, despite having to be sometimes up to nine hours in a hospital."
Jackson's grandmother Brenda Lacourciere placed a callout on a Facebook group for Jackson for Valentine's Day cards on February 2, and cards, toys and other goodies from strangers, friends and family began pouring in.
According to Pomerleau, Jackson says his favourite valentine so far has been from his nurse back home, who he refers to as his "girlfriend."
Although, it's not just his community that he's received support from. Pomerleau said they received mail from a stranger in Washington, D.C.
Jackson's diagnosis & journey
In August 2021, Jackson was diagnosed with "a malignant rhabdoid sarcoma," a soft tissue tumour in his spine with a "low survival rate." He has been undergoing treatment for his tumour, which he has named "George."
In January, less than a week after his mother gave birth to his baby sister, Jackson needed to receive seven weeks of treatment in Toronto, and due to various factors, his parents decided to stay home.
So Jackson's aunt and grandmother stepped in to help out.
"Jackson's 4, so for him to be missing them so much, it's very difficult," said Pomerleau. "But Jackson has been improving very, very well, so every effort that we're making is obviously worth it."
Anyone looking to send Jackson mail still can at "C/o Ronald McDonald House, 240 McCaul Street, Toronto, Ontario."
A GoFundMe page that was set up for Jackson to help finance his stay in Toronto, as well as other medical supplies and costs associated with his care, has raised over $5,000.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.