December 20, 2013 - 8:27 AM
VERNON - The community is rallying behind a three-year-old boy with a high risk form of cancer.
Eli Johannson was just like every other little boy, going to preschool, running around the playground, loving airplanes—until doctors found an 11 cm tumour in his abdomen and diagnosed him with neuroblastoma cancer, his family explains on their fundraising page.
The cancer had already spread to Eli’s bones, and he was whisked off to B.C. Children’s Hospital for tests, treatment and chemotherapy. After a couple rounds of chemo, doctors may try to remove all or part of the tumour that’s nestled between his liver, kidneys, and spine. Overall, his treatment at the Children’s Hospital could take up to a year.
To help the Johannson’s, who also have a newborn, the community has come together in this stressful time in a variety of ways. Individuals donated online, raising $31,897 so far. Excel Fitness hosted a silent auction and multiple by-donation events in support of Eli and his family. A fundraising event set for Dec. 19, A Night in Gold for Eli, will feature dinner, entertainment and live and silent auctions at the Best Western Vernon Lodge. A couple of seven-year-olds took it upon themselves to create Art for Eli. A grade five class from BX Elementary School raised $1146 with their Hope for Eli initiative.
“Our class was talking about how we can make a difference,” their teacher Lucia MacKeigan says. “We wanted to do something positive for an individual.”
The students made daily announcements on the school’s PA system to talk about the project. MacKeigan’s mother died of cancer, and when she asked her students to raise their hands if they knew someone who’d been affected by the disease, almost all of them did. She says it was uplifting to see the students take on the project and make it their own.
Their donation will help Eli be with his family over the holidays and stay together for the duration of his treatment.
“As a parent too, I’d hate to be in that predicament. It’s heart wrenching,” MacKeigan says.
You can visit the Help Eli fundraising page to make a donation.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013