As 13-year-old Brandon Oliveira strolled across the finish line of the 5K walk event for the CN Cycle for CHEO there is no evidence to suggest that, as a baby, doctors had warned his parents he could never walk at all.
When Brandon was only six months old he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. A tumour beside his kidney had twisted around two of the nerves running into his lower leg.
“It was hard to hear that my son, who’s not even a year old, had cancer. It was just unbelievable,” said Brandon’s mother, Lori, about first hearing the diagnosis.
After an eight-hour surgery to remove the tumour, Brandon surprised everyone by standing up the next day.
Unfortunately, after the surgery, he was diagnosed with a rare form of pneumonia. Brandon wasn’t discharged from hospital until three days after his first birthday.
Yesterday, Brandon, a first-time CHEO ambassador, completed the walk event of the CN Cycle for CHEO with his friends and family.
“I was glad to give back to the hospital after all they’ve done for me,” he said.
More than 5,000 people raised $570,173 in the annual CHEO Foundation fundraiser at the Canadian War Museum.
One of the largest groups of riders, walkers and skaters was Team Molly, named after eight-year-old Molly Robillard who had just completed her last chemotherapy treatment March 29.
Last week, a confirmation checkup found Molly with no health problems.
More than 100 of Molly’s friends, teachers and family members took part in the event, raising around $25,000.