Young Abbotsford cancer survivor wins provincial award for fundraising

Air Canada Fan Flight recognizes courageous kids, brings them to meet local NHL teams

Abbotsford high school student Jacob Bredenhof was shocked to find a man-sized killer whale in his house when he arrived home from school last week.

But it wasn’t just any regular man-sized killer whale, it was Fin, the mascot for the Canucks.

He hadn’t quite put it all together yet, but Bredenhof soon realized that he had been recognized by the Air Canada Foundation for his work raising $17,000 during the Terry Fox Run following his cancer diagnosis in the spring of 2018.

“I had no idea that was coming,” Bredenhof said. “It meant a lot to be recognized for what I’ve gone through.”

The Air Canada Fan Flight program selects a young person who has overcome significant obstacles to become “mark-makers,” in their communities. The recipient is surprised with tickets to go watch their local sports team, meet the star-players and be given a spotlight for their efforts.

“When we read [about Bredenhof’s] story, all of us were very very quickly convinced that he would be our mark-maker having gone through what he did and how he continues to give back,” said Melanie Stoute, manager for the Air Canada Foundation.

Bredenhof was brought out to the Canucks home game against the Colorado Avalanche that night and was given a signed jersey by Captain Bo Horvat, met with former goaltender Kirk McLean and was recognized over the speakers at Rogers Arena for his fundraising efforts.

“Seeing all those people standing and clapping for me, the whole day was just really fun,” he said.

When Bredenhof was in Grade 7 he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, the same type of cancer Terry Fox faced over 40 years ago. Instead of entering his first year of high school that September, he was six rounds into chemotherapy. He also just learned he would have his leg amputated.

Bredenhof, an all-star basketball player at his elementary school, was devastated, but was still able to complete two kilometres of the Terry Fox Run on crutches that year.

He became the face of the donation drive and, with the help of his basketball team, shattered the goal of raising $5,000 for cancer research.

The Air Canada Fan Flight has made partnerships with all the NHL teams in Canada to select local fans with accomplishments like Bredenhof’s to come and meet their local sport-stars.

“We like to bring fans closer to the teams that they love,” Stoute said.

Bredenhof was given another surprise at the Nov. 16 home game when he was told he would also be attending the March 13 away game against the Avalanche.

“I had no idea that was coming,” Bredenhof said. “They came up behind me with a camera and there was a pilot holding a giant boarding pass and he gave it to me.”

Bredenhof is not giving up on his athletic future despite losing a leg to cancer. He’s become the manager of his school’s junior basketball team and plans on playing basketball again soon.

“Basketball is my favourite sport and I love playing it,” he said. “Because of my amputation I’d like to go into wheelchair basketball and get into the Paralympics.”


@portmoodypigeon
patrick.penner@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Eastbound lanes of Harvey Avenue closed after car crash

A mini-van and a car collided at the intersection of Dilworth and Harvey Avenue.

Icewine harvesting underway in Okanagan

Hundreds of tonnes of grapes expected to be harvested this year for icewine in surrounding Okanagan area

City of West Kelowna proposes 4.8% tax increase for 2020

Tax increase will generate $2.3 million more in revenue in comparison to 2019 budget, city says

Nominations for Kelowna Chamber of Commerce “40 Under Forty” now open

The chamber said the search for “Best of the Best” is on

Kelowna city council approves off-leash dog beach on Lake Avenue

This is the fourth off-leash dog beach to be implemented in Kelowna

Fireballs to fill the sky Friday for brightest meteor shower of the year

Geminid meteor shower features colourful, brighter, longer shooting stars

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Book examines history of B.C. wine industry

Author Luke Whittall has studied the growth of the industry from the mid-19th century to today

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Competitive Christmas decorating takes sarcastic turn in Princeton

It’s not uncommon for neighbours to good-naturely compete with one another when… Continue reading

Most Read