(Above) Kaleb and his family visiting his school in January after a stint of treatments in Vancouver. (Left) Kaleb was given VIP access to a Fernie Ghostriders game in February. Fans raised over $3200 for him and his family that night. Free Press files

Elkford touth battling cancer on final stretch of treatment

An Elkford youth battling cancer is on the final stretches of his treatment.

Eleven-year-old Kaleb Hills-Dagenais is about to begin two months of treatment in Calgary which will hopefully beat the B-cell lymphoma which has dominated his life for almost a year.

The disease is believed to have started around November last year after the youth sustained a lower back injury following a car crash. This led to the discovery of a cancerous tumour wrapped around his spinal cord.

Hill-Degenais is slowly but steadily regaining his mobility after the surgery rendered him immobile. For the most part, the youth has now put away his wheelchair and is becoming comfortable moving with the help of a walker.

For the last two months, he has been home, and was able to graduate from grade five with his peers.

“He finished his school year off in Elkford,” said mother Kelsey. “It was really good for him, he was so excited to come back to school here.”

He now starts two months of intense treatment and hopes to be back in time for school to start come September.

“After that, we go into complete maintenance,” said mother Kelsey. “Once a month for three years we have to head to Calgary to get checked.

Shortly after the new year, Kaleb received the green light to for a transfer from Vancouver to Calgary to continue his treatment at the Calgary Children’s Hospital. Kelsey said this has been game-changing for their family.

“It’s amazing, I’m home a lot,” she said. “I get to come back and forth lots, so does Kaleb.”

The last time doctor’s performed a scan, they found Kaleb to be in remission. Since then his counts have been up and down. On Monday the family was awaiting the results of a recent count check to determine the level of treatment necessary.

Treatment was delayed for the month of March due to pancreatitis that Kaleb developed during chemotherapy treatment.

Despite this, the family is staying strong and Kaleb is as positive as ever.

“Can’t complain about that one bit,” said Kelsey. “He’s been doing really good.

“We’re on our home stretch with this,” she added. “It’s really nice. Hopefully he’s back by September for school.”

Throughout this journey Kelsey said the support from the community hasn’t ceased.

“If it wasn’t for the community… like his school’s been amazing,” said Kelsey. “Everyone around the community has been great.”


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