Gotta have Faith

Calgary Stampeders centre Jamie Crysdale and his wife Adrienne smile as they hold their daughter...

Calgary Stampeders centre Jamie Crysdale and his wife Adrienne smile as they hold their daughter Annabella Faith Crysdale at the Rockyview Hospital just 18 hours after her birth yesterday. (Calgary Sun/Kevin Udahl)

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

Annabella Faith entered the world in the wee hours yesterday morning, although faith has had a steadfast presence in the Crysdale family since May 20 of last year.

That's the day Stampeders centre Jamie Crysdale and wife Adrienne discovered three-year-old daughter Grace has leukemia.

Hours earlier, Adrienne had informed Jamie she was pregnant with the couple's third child.

Under the circumstances, faith became as mandatory in the Crysdale household as air and food.

"The new baby has given us something positive to look forward to all through Grace's treatment," the proud father proclaimed yesterday.

"We kept thinking we've got this new baby coming and it's basically Grace's baby. It's neat. It's been a very difficult time and the fact the football team sucked last year, in the big picture, it's like big (deal)."

Crysdale said he and Adrienne had been clinging to the hope the baby would overcome the family's stressful circumstances to arrive healthy, hence the name Faith.

"She hung on despite all the stress Adrienne was going through after we found out about Grace," Crysdale explained.

"That told us this baby's got some resilience and it was meant to be. What are the odds of finding out both things on the same day?"

Mom and the new baby are doing well while Grace's cancer went into remission just before Christmas. Grace's improved health, along with the introduction of a new family member, will allow the Crysdales to start a new chapter of their lives, hopefully without hospital stays.

"This new little one will allow us not to be so focused on Grace and all the bad things that have happened to her," Crysdale said.

"Grace has now moved into a positive phase and now we've got a new baby in the picture."

Grace was the focus of a 'Shave Your Lid for a Kid' initiative last CFL season that saw 20 Stampeders players and staff have their heads shaved to raise some $15,000 for cancer research.

"Grace is doing awesome," Crysdale reports.

"Before Christmas, we were told she's gone into the remission phase so now she's into a two-year maintenance period. No more overnight stays at the hospital unless she catches a fever or something like that, so we can do a lot of her treatments at home.

"Adrienne said this is like closing the chapter on all the stress with Grace and the fact Adrienne was carrying the baby. Now Grace's disease has gone into remission and she said maybe now we can move on with our lives."

Grace will turn four in March while older brother Thomas turns six the same month. Both were anxiously awaiting their new baby sister's arrival home last night.

"Grace was so excited she could hardly talk on the phone. She was like, 'When are you going to bring the baby home? What's the baby doing?' " Crysdale said.

"It will nice to get everybody home and get our lives back to normal. We're getting pretty sick of hospitals, that's for sure.

"There's going to be a lot if chaos (with three kids). But if life wasn't interesting, what would be the point?"


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