Serena Bonneville

At just 17, Serena Bonneville exemplifies strength and courage.

She is a gifted athlete who, just last year, helped lead her soccer team to the provincials. Teachers and students voted her the “head girl” of her student body. If soccer and school work did not take up her schedule completely, Serena was also an active organizer in school activities and starred in the school production of Doubt.

Serena excelled in her studies and was looking into some of the region’s most prestigious universities, when her world came to an abrupt stop. On October 10, 2013, Serena was diagnosed with leukemia and had to put her active lifestyle on hold as she would have to endure months of treatment at BC Children’s Hospital.

Though cancer invaded her body, she still found ways to keep her sanity, such as writing humorous posts about her ordeal in her blog Breeding Optimism. “These cancer cells really better watch their back,” wrote Serena on October 14, 2013. “They picked the wrong body to mess with.”

Some nine months later, Serena’s in maintenance mode, equipped with medications and ready to press play to her “new normal” life. Today, Serena is a high school graduate and is planning to attend either the University of British Columbia or University of Victoria, both of which she’s been accepted to.

“I am now a proud Southridge graduate,” wrote Serena on June 24, 2014. “As I got ready for the formal grad dinner dance on Sunday, I decided to also be a proud cancer fighter.”

Find out how the Children's Cancer Centre in the new BC Children's Hospital, opening in 2017 will help meet the needs of teens just like Serena. Read the summer issue of Speaking of Children.