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NB toddler inspires 1,400+ Maritimers to sign up as potential bone marrow donors

Posted by on 21/11/2018

A New Brunswick toddler who died from acute myeloid leukemia last month has inspired 1,454 people in Atlantic Canada to sign up to be potential stem cell and bone marrow donors.

“For a little person, who couldn’t even walk or say many words, it’s amazing, and that’s my daughter,” said Marlie’s mom Erin Curwin, who lives in Sackville, N.B.

Marlie was diagnosed in January when she was 11 months old.

“I think it was the hardest day of my life,” Marlie’s mother, Erin Curwin said, when she first spoke with Global News in March.

Marlie died on June 7; she had found a match after three chemotherapy treatments, but her health had taken a turn for the worse.

Before then, her plight attracted the support of many in her community, including through the Help for Marlie Facebook group.

Team Marlie was formed, too. Blood and OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network drives were held because of Marlie.

READ MORE: NB toddler Marlie Curwin, who inspired bone marrow drives, dies of leukemia

According to Canadian Blood Services, these are the provinces and their new registrants inspired by Marlie:

New Brunswick: 796

Nova Scotia: 480

Prince Edward Island: 178

Erin Curwin and her daughter Marlie pictured at Ronald McDonald House in Halifax on March 24, 2016.

Steve Silva / Global News

ChangSha Night Net

Despite the support, there was someone (or some people) presumably trying to profit off the situation.

In March, a GoFundMe page claiming to be raising money to support the family appeared.

“Just to think that they were using my precious girl, who is fighting for her life… oh, I was mad,” said Curwin, noting that the $200 raised in the fake campaign was returned after it was shut down.

Given everything that she was dealing with, she didn’t ask police to look into the matter further.

“It was a horrible thing but, at the same time, there was so much more good surrounding it that, yes, I was mad for a little bit but I just focused on everybody else that was doing good for us,” said Curwin, who stayed in Halifax for Marlie’s treatments.

READ MORE: New Brunswick toddler needs bone marrow match

Marlie loved bubbles, according to Curwin.

At Marlie’s grave, in Westcock, N.B., there is a bottle with bubble solution for people to use to honour her.

A tombstone, similar in shape to a bubble, will eventually be there, Curwin said.

“For the suffering that she had gone through towards the end, and for as strong and as brave as she was being, it shouldn’t have happened,” said an emotional Curwin.

Erin Curwin blew bubbles at daughter Marlie’s grave in Westcock, N.B., on July 9, 2016.

Steve Silva / Global News

Team Marlie is headed to Ottawa in September to push for more government funding into childhood cancer research.

Members also plan to attend the Light The Night Walk, a fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada, in Halifax on Oct. 15.

“Her legacy, her memory, everything she went through, it’s going to live on. She deserves that, plus so much more,” said Curwin.

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