VIDEO: Elkford boy, 10, brave in the face of cancer

Fernie Ghostriders vs. Kimberley Dynamiters game to raise funds for young fan fighting cancer

On Wednesday Kaleb paid his classmates at Rocky Mountain Elementary School a surprise visit before moving to the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Three months ago, Kaleb Hills-Dagenais was an ordinary 10-year-old boy.

Then a lower back injury thought to be the result of a car crash led to the discovery of a cancerous tumour wrapped around his spinal cord.

Now, the Elkford child is confined to a wheelchair as he slowly regains mobility after major surgery to remove the tumour, which compressed his nerves and rendered him unable to walk.

Kaleb has been diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma, a blood cancer in the lymph nodes, and on Monday finished his first month of chemotherapy.

He has a long battle ahead with another six months of intensive chemo followed by up to three years of maintenance, but is staying positive, according to mom Kelsey Hills.

“He’s been a trooper,” she said.

“It’s been a whirlwind, I don’t know where the last month of my life has gone between appointments.

“We’re busy five days a week. Mondays we have chemo, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, he has been doing his physio and rehabilitation, and Fridays he has chemo again.”

Kelsey suffered whiplash when the car she and Kaleb were travelling in collided with an elk just outside of the Line Creek mine in October.

When Kaleb complained of lower back pain, doctors suspected a pinched nerve. However, his condition only worsened and eventually he lost all function in his legs.

“We had gone down to Creston to have an early Christmas with my parents and we had lots of sleepless nights with a lot of pain before that, but we were doing physio and we thought he was getting better,” Kelsey recalled.

“Then Saturday, December 9, he started getting a lot of pain and when we went to go home on the 10th, he could barely hold his body weight up.”

Fearful for her boy, Kelsey drove Kaleb to Cranbrook hospital the following day and he was flown to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, with his dad Jason Dagenais by his side.

Three hours after an MRI scan confirmed the problem, Kaleb was in surgery during which doctors were able to remove 95 per cent of the tumour.

However, the cancer had already spread to his bone marrow and on December 18, Kelsey and Jason received the devastating news their son had B-cell lymphoma.

Kaleb spent Christmas in hospital, with his parents travelling between Elkford and Vancouver as they juggled supporting two households while caring for him.

“It’s been trying,” admitted Kelsey.

“My parents came up with the kids and my ex’s girlfriend came up. It was a long trek for everyone.”

Fortunately, Kaleb was able to get a referral to Calgary and on Wednesday he was looking forward to paying his classmates at Rocky Mountain Elementary School a surprise visit before moving to the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

STAY TUNED: Watch the moment Kaleb returns to his school. Video coming January 24.

Kelsey said she is overwhelmed by the support she has received from the community and her colleagues at Rocky Mountain Village in Fernie.

“It’s been absolutely amazing,” she said.

A GoFundMe page set up by Kaleb’s grandmother Justina Rake has raised $8865 in just one month, surpassing the $5000 goal.

Kaleb loves watching live hockey and his family were also given tickets to NHL games while he was receiving treatment in Vancouver.

He attended three games, including the bronze medal game for the IIHF World Juniors, and got to meet the Vancouver Canucks prior to their clash against the Edmonton Oilers on January 16.

“We had ice level tickets so we were right behind the goalie net,” said Kelsey.

“When we got in they pulled him into the fan club area and he got to high five all the Canucks before they went on the ice that night. He was super excited about that.”

On Friday, local hockey fans can show their support for Kaleb at the Fernie Ghostriders vs. Kimberley Dynamiters game at Fernie Memorial Arena.

There will be a bake table and raffle, with all proceeds going towards the family’s medical and travel expenses.

Puck drop Friday is at 7:30 p.m.

If you can’t make the game but would still like to donate to Kaleb, visit Gofundme.com.

 

On Wednesday Kaleb paid his classmates at Rocky Mountain Elementary School a surprise visit before moving to the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

Just Posted

Lock it or lose it, Kimberley RCMP says

Kimberley RCMP are reminding everyone to lock up their vehicles and valuable… Continue reading

Province announces $2.5-million boost to increase tourism in B.C.’s resort towns

Changes to RMI funding are bringing more money to places like Harrison and Tofino

Residents say crosswalk is unsafe

Approximately 200 Kimberley residents have expressed concerns with the crosswalk on Spokane… Continue reading

Cranbrook RCMP respond to fatal canoe incident at Moyie Lake

A young man died after a canoe overturned in the lake early Tuesday morning

VIDEO: Killer whales hunt for seals in Vancouver harbour

Bigg’s killer whales feed on marine mammals like seals, sea lions, dolphins and even other whales

VIDEO: B.C.’s waving granny gets incredible send-off from school kids

Tinney Davidson has been waving at students on their way to school for over 11 years, but is moving in a month

Struggling B.C. adoption agency elects new board that intends to keep it open

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Drug decriminalization report welcomed in East Kootenay

Provincial report recommends decriminalizing people who use illicit drugs, shift focus to treatment

New flight service an ‘angel’ for medical patients

Angel Flight East Kootenay will fly medical patients to Kelowna or Vancouver

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Family dog stolen from Kootenay backyard

RCMP appealing for information on pregnant Karelian bear dog missing from Elko, B.C.

Blaine, Wash. inn owner, charged with smuggling people into B.C., granted bail

Robert Joseph Boule ordered to turn away anyone indicating a plan to enter Canada illegally

Most Read