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

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

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.

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.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Terrace Special Olympics host first annual Sports Day

Many carnival-style games took place

Terrace students hold city accountable for safer bike lanes

Skeena Middle School students biked to city hall to present their report

Terrace-area gold project shows strong promise

Juggernaut Exploration hopes this year’s drilling will follow last year’s exceptional program

Kitselas votes Judy Gerow as new chief councillor

Chief and council members elected June 12

Community gathers at two Terrace schools to protest SD82

Participants carried signs reading ‘We demand transparency’

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

B.C. Interior First Nation family ‘heartbroken’ over loss of young mom

RCMP have released no new information since the June 8, 2019 homicide

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

Most Read