Parksville’s Kaiden Finley, centre, is surrounded by his five siblings. Kaiden passed away on March 21 after a long battle with brain cancer. - Photo submitted by Tasha Finley

Kaiden Finley leaves a legacy of inspiration

“He was seriously the strongest 11-year-old.”

A definite lump-in-your-throat comment this week, after the heartbreaking news that Parksville’s Kaiden Finley, just 11 years old, died on March 21 after a courageous battle with brain cancer.

The quote came from Kaiden’s mom, Tasha, and she was correct.

Even if you didn’t know Kaiden personally, it was easy to form a connection with the personable youngster, whose smiling face could be seen on these pages, on pqbnews.com and many other media outlets, as he campaigned to share awareness in an effort to help others.

One of his main focuses over the past several months was the upcoming Brain Tumour Walk on May 26 in Victoria. His team Kaiden’s Kape Krusaders has reached $1,700 in donations that will help others dealing with brain tumours.

Last year, Kaiden and his mom stopped by the Parksville McDonald’s for the annual McHappy Day to hand out meals and let people know how the Ronald McDonald House supported them while Kaiden was going through treatment.

He was also a junior rider for the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock.

For a young person, battling such an insidious disease, to show such a remarkable capacity for helping others speaks volumes about himself and his family.

“That’s all he wanted was his story shared, to get awareness of his brain tumour out there,” said Tasha. “All Kaiden wanted was to share awareness and get people to keep sharing.”

READ MORE: Inspirational Parksville youngster Kaiden Finley dies after cancer battle

His story was indeed shared, and people will keep sharing.

Kaiden is gone far too soon, but his legacy lives on.

“Even through his pain he kept smiling and laughing and willing to keep sharing his story for other kids,” Tasha said. “He loved getting all the loving messages from people wishing him well or just a note saying ‘hi’. He was so very touched that everyone cared about him.”

They did.

And will continue to do so.

“I can’t believe he’s gone,” said Tour de Rock team rider Alli Roberts, who formed a close bond with Kaiden.

“We were teamed up for Tour de Rock and he inspired me to be the best rider I could be. Now I have to continue sharing his story even when it breaks my heart because I will always stand up for Kaiden and share his story.”

To honour Kaiden and his memory, Roberts got a thunderbolt tattoo on her ankle which represents a little flash figure he gave to Roberts just before the Tour de Rock.

“He told me he held onto it during his radiation treatments for strength and that I could have it on the ride to help me when it was difficult,” she said.

Many of us can relate to the bravery and selflessness often shown by those battling cancer in our own families. For them, and for Kaiden, we will continue to share his inspiring message.

Thank you, Kaiden.

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