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

Rockets continue road trip Wednesday night in Prince Geroge

Kelowna dropped game one of their four game road-trip on Saturday against Kamloops

Quails’ Gate Winery to celebrate 30 year anniversary

A limited amount of tickets are available for the event

Hundreds attend first annual climate and food conference in Kelowna

Over 25 industry experts spoke at the two-day event

Kelowna Gospel Mission hosts street-hockey game to fight homelessness stigma

The hockey game was filmed to bring more attention to homelessness in the Okanagan

Pug-O-Ween 2019 to take Kelowna dog park by snort

Calling all pug-owners and Halloween lovers!

BC SPCA: From walking dogs to sponsoring galas

The Canadian Jewelry Exchange is a sponsor for this year’s gala

Horvat’s hat trick lifts Canucks to 5-2 win over Red Wings

First career three-goal game for Vancouver captain

Saanich Gulf-Islands’s Elizabeth May coy about leadership plans

The federal Green party leader talks possibility of running as MP without being leader

Estheticians can’t be forced to wax male genitals, B.C. tribunal rules

Langley transgender woman Jessica Yaniv was ordered to pay three salon owners $2,000 each

Two youth arrested in UBC carjacking at gunpoint, after being spotted in stolen Kia

‘A great deal of credit is due the alert person who called us,’ said North Vancouver Sgt. Peter DeVries

South Okanagan man charged following armed standoff gets bail

Information on the proceedings is limited due to publication ban

People’s Party of Canada’s anti-immigration views ‘didn’t resonate’ with voters: prof

Party was formed on anti-immigration, climate denying views in 2018

Windstorm knocks out power for 10,000 in north and central B.C.

Power slowly being restored, BC Hydro says

Behind the blue and white Carnival clown mask

Toshie Okada is named October’s Respect Works Here Community Champion

Most Read