WINNIPEG – At 11-years-old Ryan Veldkamp was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the blood.
“When I heard that it was either cancer or something else that was the first thing that went through my head was the thought of dying,” said Veldkamp.
He then spent three years at the Children’s Hospital undergoing chemotherapy and eight rounds of radiation treatments.
“It doesn’t just kill the bad, it kills everything, you feel like crap for a long time after that, it wipes everything out,” said Veldkamp.
During the three years Veldkamp spent at the hospital he lost 12 of his friends to cancer, a scary experience for him.
“Even if they aren’t doing good and they do make it it’s scary because what if you start not making it,” he said.
But it wasn’t only hard on Veldkamp, his whole family suffered.
“We fought a lot but it brought us closer together, cancer’s one of the worst things that can happen to a family but it brings a lot of good things too,” Veldkamp said.
Now 17-years-old, Veldkamp is cancer free and a ‘Champion Child’ for the Children’s Miracle Network.
So he joined close to 700 walkers and runners Sunday at St. Vital park for Walk for Miracles to support sick children.
“There are 120,000 kids who come through the hospital each and every year, 50,000 through emergency, and on average about 17 surgeries every day,” said Gary Rozak of the Children’s Miracle Network Manitoba.
Like Tes Eusebio’s daughter who spent seven months at the Children’s Hospital when she was prematurely born blind and with heart problems.
“In every way they did everything they can for her and now she’s just amazing,” said Eusebio.
Veldkamp is doing amazing too now heading in to grade 12 as the captain of his football team.
Today’s event raised $300,000 to help fund research and buy equipment for the Children’s Hospital.