By Brennan Phillips
Special to the Western News
A local family’s worst nightmare came true on Jan. 24, when their son Wills, 7, was diagnosed with a large tumour.
A fundraiser is being held March 11 to support the family as Wills undergoes treatment, after he was taken to Penticton Regional Hospital where he was confronted with news far worse than they could have expected. Wills was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, where the tumour was officially diagnosed.
With parents Tim Hodgkinson and Neeley Brimer, and two-year-old sister Scarlett, at his side, Wills underwent surgery to remove the tumour and his kidney. However, during surgery it was discovered that the tumour had also spread to his spleen, pancreas and colon, and a further eight tumours were found on Wills’ lungs.
Still at B.C. Children’s Hospital, Wills has begun an initial six weeks of chemotherapy this week, the first phase of an intense battle that will see treatment continuing for up to a year.
Wills is in Grade 2 at Holy Cross School in Penticton. He is very active, playing hockey in the Penticton Mini-Vees, and he is a member of the Penticton Pinnacles Excelsior Soccer Program.
A passionate sports fan, he loves nothing more than cheering on the Penticton Vees, as well as the Chelsea Football Club, the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, the Vancouver Canucks and the Edmonton Oilers. His favourite athletes are Connor McDavid and David Beckham.
To support his treatment, his family has set up a GoFundMe, with hopes of raising $30,000. So far, they’ve raised over $3,000, with donations ranging from $20 to $500.
There will also be a fundraiser on March 11 from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at the Adidas Soccerplex in Penticton, including a silent auction, bake sale, glitter tattoos, bouncy castle, soccer skills competition, and crafts for the kids. It’s also a chance to send messages of love and encouragement to Wills via scrapbook, photos and videos.
Silent auction items and bake sale goodies are needed. Anyone who is able to donate items can drop them off at Time Flies. You can join the support group for Wills on Facebook.
Organizers Tricia Hernes and Margie Hibbard can be reached through Facebook or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.