Drea "The Elbow Drop" Pepe makes people smile

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Drea Pepe is a five-year old summer resident in Winnipeg Beach who is fighting cancer. She watches World Wrestling Entertainment, so she knows how to fight.
When her parents first found out about this aggressive, rare brain cancer on January 17, doctors previously thought it was a virus. She had some of the same symptoms as the flu: nausea, dizziness, vomiting. But after several trips to her family doctor and two trips to the emergency room, tests were ordered and the CT scan confirmed she had a tumour.
It was the size of a prune.
After the initial shock of the diagnosis, Drea’s dad, Mike Pepe and his wife wanted to keep things normal. Everyone’s doing awesome considering,” said Mike. But at first and for a long time, “it was hard to talk about, hard to look at people.” At the family dinner table, he remembers, “We made a pact. Drea will fight and we will look after everything else.”
CancerCare Manitoba welcomes the whole family when they go for blood work or transfusions three to four times per week. Drea also had a stem cell harvest done to seed her bone marrow and restart her immune system after chemotherapy.
The Pepe family includes Drea’s grandmother, who is her best friend, and her grandfather, Don Pepe, the former Mayor of Winnipeg Beach and restaurant owner. Drea also has an older sister and brother who play hockey and play “Mother Bear,” helping her when she’s sick.
Since then, they’ve taken leave from their work and sold their second car. Drea’s Timbits hockey team, Shenanigan’s restaurant and Winnipeg Beach Legion Branch #61 have all helped. A social for the family was held. Friends set up a GoFundMe page to accept
Drea was quickly operated on and doctors successfully removed 100 per cent of the tumour. She was the first in Canada to be injected with a fluorescent dye to completely highlight the tumour. However, the cancer has a high risk of return. “We just finished three rounds of chemotherapy,” Mike said. They have “one more high-dose chemo on June 18.”
“She wants to be a wrestling diva,” he added. “She’s ecstatic,” to be going to WWE for her birthday. “She’s my hero,” he exclaimed.
To donate, visit: ca.gofundme.com/f/in-support-of-drea-pepe-and-family.
For more information on Drea’s condition, please search for Drea5 at www.caringbridge.com. Visitors can see her photo and more once approved.