Carley Allison was an exceptionally talented and dedicated young lady that bravely fought an extremely rare clear-cell sarcoma. Carley passed away March 31st 2015 leaving a legacy of inspiration; this is her story…
In February 2013, Carley was admitted to North York General Hospital with difficulty breathing. As a result, she was given an emergency tracheostomy to restore her airway (which was limited to a mere 2 millimetres).
That’s when the doctors found a golf ball sized tumor that literally crushed her trachea.
The pathology on the tumor revealed that it was a extremely rare (1 in 3.5 billion) clear-cell sarcoma of the trachea, the second such case ever recorded in the history of modern medicine.
After 10 days in the hospital and being diagnosed with a potentially deadly, rare and virtually unknown cancer, Carley returned home and put herself way out in the universe by posting herself on Youtube singing a One Direction song, with trache-tube and all.
Carley’s video was spotted by Selena Gomez who tweeted out encouragement to Carley and her 15 million followers. From that moment on, Carley became a spokesperson for people facing adversity. As the news agencies picked up her story, people from around the world reached out to Carley with encouragement and praise for giving them the hope, courage and determination they needed to fight their adversity.
Through her music, Carley created awareness about sarcomas and raised thousands of dollars for research & treatment. Events started popping up on campuses across the country and donations for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation and the Sick Kids Hospital poured in from across the globe.
In July 2013 Carley underwent a complex surgery to remove a two inch tract of her trachea and the underlying tumour. The surgery was performed by world reknown head and neck surgeon Patrick Gullane (Order of Canada). It was unknown whether Carley would ever be able to speak, let alone sing again.
The surgery went very well and it wasn’t long before Carley was talking, singing and even figure skating again. Testing showed that Carley was cancer-free and she began attending classes at Queen’s University.
Regretfully, the doctors found that the cancer had spread to Carley’s lungs. Carly redoubled her efforts to fight this very aggressive cancer, never letting it dictate what she could or could not do.
In that spirit, on November 1st 2014, Carley was honored to sing the national anthem at the Air Canada Centre for the NHL’s “Hockey Fights Cancer” game with the Toronto Maple Leafs facing off against the Chicago Blackhawks. Prior to her singing, public address announcer Andy Frost mentioned that Carley had just “fought an extremely rare throat cancer and is now fighting double lung cancer, but that has not stopped her from performing for us tonight”. That statement truly typifies Carley; she faced her adversity head-on and never let it get in her way or slow her down.
Carley brought out the best in us… From her friends who rallied around her, the medical practitioners who went to extraordinary lengths to treat her and her loving family that never stopped trying to find a way to save their beloved daughter from the scourge of cancer.
Carley was always upbeat, caring, and concerned for the well-being of others. She will be remembered for her gentle kindness, her passion & love, her great gifts, skills & talents and her indomitable human spirit, poise & determination, not only throughout this whole ordeal, but throughout her whole life.
Carley was a beautiful person from her kind, sensitive & gracious soul to her outward beauty which made her stand out as a singer-songwriter and competitive figure skater.
Carley leaves behind her loving family and a legion of friends and followers who share the pain of this great loss. Carley also leaves behind the foundation named after her; Carley’s Angels — working to unite traditional and holistic cancer care in hospitals, while spreading Carley’s message of “always smile”