How on earth can you make sense of an eight-year old needing a bucket list?

Buckets are for kids to fill with sand and make sandcastles. And collect Saskatoons, raspberries or ladybugs. Or for carrying water to pour over their sister’s head.

Janaya Chekowski-McKenzie, is a bright, spunky, beautiful eight-year old, and an incredible fighter with unlimited potential.

However, the list of her medical complications is almost as long as her bucket list.

Janaya’s Story

At birth she was found to be hypoxic due to being in the birth canal too long. And this caused a lung infection. At the age of three months she was diagnosed with a very rare condition called Hypopituitarism – an under-active pituitary gland. Janaya lacks necessary hormones like adrenocorticotropic hormone, growth hormone, and cortisol.

This condition also causes her to suffer from a decreased immune system, leaving her susceptible to infection. Janaya would require a lifetime of medications, and would spend much of her first three years of life in and out of the Stollery Children’s Hospital battling pneumonia. In addition to hypopituitarism, Janaya was later found to have a vision disorder – Optic Nerve Hypoplasia affecting her right eye – she has no depth perception.

Dinosaurs and Pokemon

Despite her overwhelming number of medical complications, Janaya grew and thrived under the care of her mom, Amanda Crow and family. She started school with a series of educational delays, and evolved to an outstanding grade three student who reads many levels above her grade.

Janaya can name every Pokemon and their properties, and has an incredibly vast knowledge of dinosaurs that would rival many paleontologists.  

A Rare Cancer

Janaya started getting headaches in the fall of 2017. They worsened as time went on, and on February 1, 2018 she was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer – “diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma” (DIPG).

As a result her family was told she has a fifty per cent chance of living another year, if treated with radiation to slow the growth of the tumor.

Janaya’s mom said about the moment the doctor gave the diagnosis, “My heart was in my throat. I couldn’t breathe. It was crazy…I just lost all my cool.”

So, Janaya got busy on her bucket list.

Filling Her Bucket

Three of Janaya’s dreams are: New York on stage singing, be in a band and be world famous.

North Pointe isn’t New York but we’ll do our best to help Janaya check off three more dreams on her list.

On Tuesday May 1st at 6:30pm, Janaya will walk the red carpet after a limo ride from her home in Beaumont. She’ll be on stage with a band and our friends at CTV and CHED will do their best to make her world famous. Janaya will be available to autograph pictures after her performance.

You and your friends are invited to be a part of this fabulous evening. Show up at 6:00pm in the SOUTH parking lot at 14025 167 Ave., Edmonton.

APPLICATION: Please pass the word along and let’s party with Janaya! Share this post. Bring your cameras, and let’s help make her world famous.


Hope grows here. I write to share stories that inspire people, build faith in Jesus, and offer lasting purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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Bob Jones

Author Bob Jones

Pastor at North Pointe Community Church for 28 years. Happily married to Jocelyn for 39 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vinnie and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love being a pastor and inspiring faith in Jesus through communicating, blogging, counseling and coaching. I enjoy running, reading, writing and ball hockey. Fan of the Esks and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers

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