Charlottetown woman has baby early to allow for her leukemia treatment

Dave Stewart
Published on February 7, 2016

Jenn McInnis holds her son, Kane, who she had to deliver at 28 weeks because she's in need of a stem cell transplant. McInnis was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in November and will be spending the next few months at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax.

©Submitted photo

Benefit organized for Jenn McInnis who had baby prematurely so she could get stem cell transplant

Friends and family are rallying around a Charlottetown woman who had to deliver her baby 12 weeks premature so she could fight for her own life.

Jenn McInnis was diagnosed in November with acute myeloid leukemia while she was pregnant with her second child.

With her husband, Ben, by her side, McInnis began chemotherapy treatments at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax.

The aim is to put the leukemia in remission before she has a bone marrow transplant. That will happen the end of this month, as long as she heals from dental work that has to be done first.

The baby had to come out before the transplant.

So, on Friday, Jan. 8, Kane McInnis came into the world weighing two pounds, two ounces.

Ben McInnis told The Guardian on Wednesday that his wife is battling a bout with the flu and found out she needs another round of chemotherapy.

"All we can do is deal with it one day at a time,'' Ben said. "You never know what is going to happen from one day to the next.''

Kane is being fed donated breast milk, is bonding with his mother and, as of Wednesday, was up to three pounds, three ounces.

Kane will remain at the IWK Health Centre until April 1, what would have been his due date.

The family has found an apartment donated by Killam Properties in Halifax to stay in. A tutor has been brought in to help the couple's other child, Kash, maintain his school work.

Friends and family have also organized a benefit for Sunday, Feb. 21 at St. Joachim's Parish Hall in Vernon River, 2-4 p.m. There will be a live cake auction and a concert.

HOW TO HELP: List of ways to support Jenn

Jenn is the daughter of Brenda MacPhee and Junior Rafuse of Charlottetown. Ben is the son of Beth and Danny McInnis of Uigg.

Gwen Beck, Ben's aunt, said they've even been getting donations from relatives of eight-year-old Callum Thomson of Pinette, who is also in a Halifax hospital, battling another form of leukemia.

"The people on P.E.I. are wonderful. The community has been pulling together,'' Beck said. "Ben and Jenn are very courageous and brave. They have a lot of decisions to make and they're doing a wonderful job in keeping their heads up.''

Kelley Lea, one of the many people helping to organize things, said it's heartbreaking to see what is happening to the McInnis family.

"But it's also amazing to see the number of people who are stepping up to help,'' Lea said.

Need to know

- A benefit will be held for Jenn McInnis on Sunday, Feb. 21, at St. Joachim's Parish Hall in Vernon River, 2 p.m.

- An online auction is set up on Facebook.

- Donations can be made at ScotiaBank in Montague and Charlottetown. They can also be dropped off, or arrangements made for pickup by calling Reid Lea, 902-393-6555, Ann MacLeod, 902-393-7651, Kelley Lea, 902-213-4278, Arlene Powers, 902-651-2176, Helen Dawson, 902-629-0770, or Brenda McInnis, 902-651-2768

- E-transfers can be made to