Parksville’s Kaiden Finley remains dedicated to raising awareness and support for other children battling cancer.
Kaiden, 11, was diagnosed with a brain tumour on May 7, 2017, and three days later underwent a 12-hour surgery to remove the cancerous growth at B.C. Children’s Hospital.
Last September, after many ups and downs, Kaiden went for a routine MRI and was told the cancer had returned, this time in his neck and spine. Doctors found six new tumours.
Today, Kaiden lives in Victoria where he can be close to his hospice team.
“He’s slowly going downhill. Right now he’s on lots of meds due to pain, and mobility is starting to be an issue now,” said his mom, Tasha Finley. “His hospice team is being wonderful. We’ve got a hospital bed in the house, a wheelchair now. We have a great team.”
One of Kaiden’s main focuses right now is the upcoming Brain Tumour Walk, taking place in Victoria on May 26.
“Kaiden’s main thing is for the awareness to get out there so other kids don’t have to go through this,” Tasha said. “He would love to find a cure, it’s too late for him but his main goal is to just get the awareness out there.”
Anyone can start or join a team for the fundraiser walk and those interested in joining Kaiden’s team can visit the website (www.braintumourevents.ca) and sign up for Kaiden’s Kape Krusaders.
Alli Roberts, Kaiden’s 2018 Tour de Rock rider, has already signed up for Kaiden’s team and encourages more people to do the same to show Kaiden he is supported.
“For the walk, it doesn’t cost anything to sign up, they want you to collect donations,” Roberts said. “Sign up and show Kaiden there’s this huge team of people on his team… seems like a really nice message to give him.”
Roberts has become very close with Kaiden since riding for him in the Tour de Rock. She said she sees him at least once a week.
“We took him and went and did a sleepover at the Vancouver Aquarium and the staff there were incredible. He got to meet the penguin and meet the dolphin and help feed the sea lions and help the trainers,” Roberts said. “It was a fantastic expereince.”
Kaiden can also say he’s done something not many 11-year-olds have — drive a car.
“He wanted to drive a car,” Roberts said. “So instead of just getting a driving lesson he gets to ride in a NASCAR [race car] and then Capital Drift Club takes him out in a drifter car and lets him drive one and do a crazy burn out. All the guys were cheering for him, he was just loving it.”
Kaiden also got two hours of flying lessons with the Victoria Flying Club, got to suit up in fire gear and put out fires with Victoria International Airport Fire Rescue members and learned archery with the Cowichan Bowmen Archery Club.
On Jan. 16, Kaiden was sworn in as Victoria police chief for the day with the Victoria Police Department.
“We had a full escort pick him up at his house and we rolled into the department,” Roberts said. “The whole atrium was filled with people and the police chief Del Manak was amazing, he was so funny but also really sincere.”
Roberts said Manak told Kaiden he had unconditional support from the policing community.
“He looks directly at Kaiden and [Tasha] and said: ‘We love you. You’re facing something really, really difficult but we just want you to know we’re here to help you out however you want.’” Roberts said.
“Typical Kaiden nature is he goes home after those experiences and sits with all his brothers and sisters and they all just laugh and laugh as they go over all the stories.”
Also typical Kaiden, Roberts said, is a young boy who’s always looking out for others.
“One of his big messages with everything that’s going on is he wants to do whatever he can and make it so other kids don’t have to go through the same thing that he’s going through, which kind of just shows his compassion level,” Roberts said.
Roberts added Kaiden has a quirky sense of humour with some “real dance moves.”
“I have so much love for Kaiden and his family,” Roberts said. “Kaiden’s in a pretty rough spot, we all feel pretty motivated to try to do whatever we can. We don’t give up hope until there’s no hope.”
A GoFundMe page was created on Nov.1 by Tasha’s sister-in-law Katie Allenby and has reached about $3,000 of its $25,000 goal.