As a little boy fights for his life in a Vancouver hospital, friends in the South Okanagan are organizing a fundraiser to help support his family.
Aiden Byrnell, who turns nine this weekend, was diagnosed with brain stem cancer and has been in hospital since July 1, according to family friend Kenna Green.
Green is among a handful of people organizing a dinner and dance next Saturday in Summerland.
“All the money is going to help the family with the cost of being in Vancouver,” she explained.
Byrnell was scheduled to enter Grade 4 at Okanagan Falls Elementary School this month, and previously attended Wiltse Elementary School in Penticton with Green’s daughter.
“Anybody who meets Aiden, (they) love him instantly,” she said.
“He’s just a sweetheart.
“He’s just a good-natured, funny, polite, little kid, as are his parents.
“They’re both just sweet people.”
Lisa McCall, the principal at Byrnell’s school, said his family has asked for privacy, but noted the boy is popular with staff and classmates in Okanagan Falls.
“He is just so loved and such a compassionate child. Loved by all staff and students,” she said.
The fundraiser begins at 5 p.m. in the banquet room of the Summerland Arena. Tickets are $15 and include dinner and a social dance to follow. There will also be a raffle and silent auction.
Green said businesses from throughout the South Okanagan have been “overly generous” in their gifts of merchandise for the event, at which a sweater signed by Chicago Blackhawk Duncan Keith will also be up for grabs.
For tickets call Kenna Green at 250-488-2143, Clayton Keys at 250-488-0301, Tristin Wilson at 250-488-4460, or Greg Miller at 250-809-4053.