Kids who have fought a battle against cancer got to be a soldier for a day.
The Kids with Cancer Society paired with the Third Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry at the Edmonton Garrison on Friday to let 15 kids check out the base.
Kids got to simulate a parachute landing, a ride in a tank, and fire a C7 service rifle, C9 Light Machine Gun, and the 84mm Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle.
Hunter Fabbro, 12, was nine when he was diagnosed with a renal cell adenoma tumor on his left kidney.
“We went over to the other building and they had a giant simulator on a wall and you had to try and shoot the guns there. That was fun,” he said.
The day was also a chance for him to see other kids and families in his situation.
“If you have cancer and you’re religious even a little bit, you’ve just got to stay with God because that’s what I did and he saved my life and I’m grateful for it,” he said.
Sgt. Matthew Yaschuk helped organize the day.
“To myself, they’re warriors. It’s a very important cause near and dear to every soldier’s heart because they’re kids,” he said.
He said the excitement on the kids’ faces was a pleasure and he called the day an amazing experience.
Tara Graham, director of development with the Kids with Cancer Society, said a live auction at the organization’s Beaded Gala paid for the experience. The two bidders were Shawn Beamish and Zan Owsley.
“When you’re diagnosed with cancer, life isn’t normal anymore,” Graham said. “You have to explain to people why you’re tired all the time, why you’re missing school, why you’re missing your hair, sometimes why you have an amputation. Days like today provide an opportunity for our kids to be normal, but it also provides them with an extraordinary experience that feeds them with wonderful memories that can help them through those tough times in the future.”
She said the Kids with Cancer Society focuses on the emotional, social and financial needs of families.
Each year, 3,200 kids and families get help from the Kids with Cancer Society.
— CATHERINE GRIWKOWSKY, Sun Media News Services