Support sought for Okanagan teen who lost father to cancer

Aggressive sarcoma claims 37-year-old father

The day before his 38th birthday, family and friends of an Armstrong man will gather to grieve.

Randy Berkholtz lost his battle to cancer on March 11, 2019 in Kelowna General Hospital.

See: Randy Joseph Berkholtz

“Dec. 25 he went to the hospital and he never came out,” said mom Janet Collins, who watched the aggressive sarcoma take over her son’s body.

Despite standing more than six feet tall and weighing in at 335 lbs, Berkholtz was no match for cancer.

“He had been going to the hospital pretty much weekly since October,” said girlfriend Michelle Tapp. “They kept telling him it was nothing.”

Berkholtz was initially admitted to Vernon Jubilee Hospital, but he and his family insisted he moved.

“He was misdiagnosed, to begin with, we feel,” said Collins.”He had been in the hospital in Vernon for about a month and they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him.”

Once in Kelowna, doctors were able to identify the source of pain and discomfort that Berkholtz had been struggling with for months – sarcoma.

“He had a tumour in his chest,” said Tapp. “It crushed his one lung almost immediately.”

Radiation and chemotherapy were attempted but nothing could stop the fast-growing, rare cancer.

Along with his mother, father, girlfriend, sister and a wealth of friends, Berkholtz leaves behind his 13-year-old son Adam.

“His main love was his son,” said Collins of Adam, who will be 14 in June.

Adam’s aunt, Misty Berkholtz, has started a Go Fund Me page to help the young man during this difficult time and into the future.

See also: Army of support behind Morning Star saleswoman battling cancer

“We really want to give some support to Adam, he’s 13 and we felt this would be a good idea,” said Randy’s older sister Misty. “He may be feeling pretty lost right now. We just want him to know that there are people around everywhere that think about him and love him.

“His dad was his primary caregiver.”

Adam remains in his own with Tapp, who is trying to care for him the best she can.

“She is absolutely amazing with him,” said Collins.

Formerly from Kelowna, Tapp said Adam returned to school Monday, April 1 and is doing OK. But of course, there are many times when the pair misses the mellow, funny presence of Randy.

“He was a great dad, he definitely had his rules and they needed to be followed, but he was very attentive to Adam,” said Tapp, who met Randy on the dating website Plenty of Fish.

The trio could often be seen at the Enderby Drive-In, floating down the Shuswap River or having family dinners with cousins.

“He liked music, and he was a really handsome guy,” said Tapp.

Randy had tattoos and a moustache and goatee along with a shaven head, yet he was very polite, his mom fondly says.

The Pleasant Valley Secondary grad grew up on the coast in Gibsons and has always had a large circle of friends.

“Right from when he started school down on the coast he had lots of friends,” said Collins. “There was always somebody sleeping over or coming for supper. He was well-liked.”

Growing up he loved baseball and bowling, even making it to the provincial championships. While he never made it to the big leagues, his love for these sports never faded.

“He played baseball at (Funtastic) every year and he used to go bowling quite a bit,” said Collins.

Randy was a lead hand trucker with OVH Enterprises Ltd., out of Vernon.

Snowmobiling and ATV-ing were also favourite past times. Therefore, Randy’s wish was to have his ashes spread up Hunter’s Range. A group he used to go riding with will do so in the summer.

See: Search crew, snowmobile club cooperation key for winter rescues

Prior to that, a Celebration of Life takes place Saturday, April 6 at 1 p.m. at the Chapel of Alternatives Funeral & Cremation Services (2980 Smith Dr., Armstrong). In lieu of flowers, support donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/fund-for-adam-berkholtz to help Randy’s son Adam during this difficult time.


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Summer arrives at Big White Ski Resort

Hiking, bike trails, restaurants and more are open as of July 10

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

Pianos return to Kelowna parks

The Pianos in Parks program was postponed amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Certain crimes increased in Peachland during pandemic

Theft from vehicles, vehicle incidents, and break and enters have increased during the pandemic

UPDATE: YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

COVID-19: Homeless to be relocated from temporary Okanagan shelter

Homeless shelters in Vernon have been combined into one site at the curling rink since April

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Most Read