The 24th year of the annual Brain Tumour Walk is upon us but this year’s event holds special meaning as Parksville’s Tasha Finley, who lost her young son Kaiden two months ago, will join the march.
Finley noticed her son’s head tilting in March of 2017 but didn’t think much of it. She mentioned it in a routine doctors appointment three weeks later. The doctor prescribed physiotherapy. Flu-like symptoms came shortly after — headaches and vomiting left Kaiden losing weight, fast. The doctor thought it was acid reflux and prescribed antacids.
Needing a getaway, the family travelled to Victoria where Finley noticed a look on her son’s face that said he needed help urgently.
Taking Kaiden to hospital, doctors realized that something was seriously wrong but every test came back negative.
The final test they ran was a CT scan that revealed a massive tumour on the back of Kaiden’s head. It was May 7, 2017.
Kaiden had surgery to remove the tumour and fought through six weeks of high-dose radiation.
In September 2018, an MRI found six new tumours on Kaiden’s neck, brain stem and down his spine. Two weeks later the family was in palliative care with no more treatment options for Kaiden.
On Valentines Day 2019, Kaiden could still walk. Three days later, he could not.
Kaiden died in March.
Finley says their family prayed Kaiden would make it to the Brain Tumour Walk but knows he will be there in spirit.
“He was at the event last year and was keen to raise awareness so that other families don’t follow our journey. I will continue to share Kaiden’s story in the hope that it helps other families,” she says.
The Brain Tumour Walk takes place at the University of Victoria on Sunday, May 26. Money raised at the event will fund ground-breaking research across North America in hopes of finding a cure and improving treatment for brain tumour survivors.
For more information visit www.braintumour.ca.