Despite her school being just a 10-minute walk away, Isabelle's love for all things mechanical led her parents to sign her up for the big yellow school bus when she started junior kindergarten in September 2020.
Following Isabelle's diagnosis with a rare brain tumour in April 2020, just months before her fourth birthday, her family made sure she didn't miss out on cherished childhood experiences. Among these experienced included spending quality time with her family, playing princess, and visiting visiting notable landmarks, such as Niagara Falls and the CN Tower.
Despite her young age, Isabelle displayed mature enthusiasms. After recovering from treatments to slow the progression of her Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), she eagerly assisted with household chores and even showcased her construction skills by helping build toy shelves in her new playroom.
Isabelle had definitive ideas: She insisted on an indoor picnic for her father’s birthday rather than serving him breakfast in bed, and while she didn’t generally enjoy having her picture taken, when the mood struck she would “model” – her way – refusing any advice from family members, and resulting in some unique photos.
Throughout her treatments at SickKids, Isabelle maintained a positive spirit despite her dislike of medical procedures. Radiation, steroids, and other medications allowed her moments of joy, enabling her to embody her giggly, kind, and mischievous self.
However, as the seasons changed, Isabelle's strength began to diminish, and her headaches and nausea became more frequent. Her parents received the devastating news that the tumour had spread throughout her brain and spine, leaving no further options to slow its progression. By mid-December, Isabelle spent most of her days sleeping, receiving visits from palliative care professionals who focused on keeping her comfortable. On December 15, she slipped into a coma, and loved ones gathered in person or through video calls for one last visit.
Throughout the night, Michal and Jacqueline, Isabelle's parents, held her hands and cuddled her through a marathon of her favourite movies and music. On the morning of December 16, 2020, Isabelle took her final breath and passed away peacefully, just eight short months after her diagnosis.