Armstrong’s Karlina Muik, 21, (with her dog, Ella), is battling a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Friends and family launched a GoFundMe campaign to help with costs, expenses. (Contributed)

Armstrong’s Karlina Muik, 21, (with her dog, Ella), is battling a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Friends and family launched a GoFundMe campaign to help with costs, expenses. (Contributed)

Friends, family rally support for young Armstrong woman

Karlina Muik, 21, battling rare form of cancer; GoFundMe campaign set up to help with costs

She’s a daughter, sister, fiancée, aunt, friend.

And to her support group, Karlina Muik is more than just a cancer patient.

The 21-year-old Armstrong woman is battling Stage 4 Rhabdomyosarcoma, diagnosed in July 2021. Rhabdomyosarcoma is a very aggressive cancer that started in Muik’s hand and has now spread to different parts of her body, most recently into her spine.

Rhabdomyosarcoma starts in muscle cells or in tissues that are precursors to muscle cells. It is a cancerous (malignant) tumour that can invade, or grow into, and destroy nearby tissue. It can also spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body. Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common type of soft tissue sarcoma that occurs in children. It is rare in adults (cancer.ca).

“She’s gone through a full round of chemo and radiation, in its most aggressive form,” said Muik’s sister, Megan. “We all know cancer is cruel, but it’s something we don’t really understand completely until you see someone you love, fighting as hard as they can to beat it; the toll it takes physically, emotionally and financially.”

Muik has been looking into other forms of cancer treatment that support her body on different levels through the work of naturopaths, functional medicine doctors and holistic coaches. All of which are costly.

A GoFundMe campaign launched in July 2021 by family friend Meghan Johnston – whose nephew, Ty, is Muik’s partner and high school sweetheart – has raised more than $15,000 toward a goal of $50,000 to help with costs and expenses.

“We are doing everything we humanly can to support and help her in this fight,” said Megan Muik. “If you are able to graciously support her in this financial aspect to relieve some of the stress associated with treatments, travel expenses and the cost of supplements she would be forever grateful. She has so much life to live, so much to look forward to.”

Born and raised in Armstrong, Muik is a former employee of the now-closed Brown Derby Cafe. After graduation from Pleasant Valley Secondary School, she worked for Eagle Canada Seismic but was laid off when COVID hit. She was making future plans when she received her cancer diagnosis.

Despite the setbacks, Johnston said Muik is maintaining a positive attitude.

“We have been starting many natural supplements trying to support her, which can get very costly fast but we feel have a great chance of supporting her,” she said. “We are searching for any and all options we can to help her.

“There will be regular travel from Armstrong to Kelowna. Travelling to the U.S. may have to be an option if we continue to struggle getting a hold of the limited treatments offered locally. Any and all donations, shares and support is beyond appreciated.”

Editor’s note: This story was updated Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 10 a.m. to correctly attribute quotes to Muik’s sister, Megan

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