Edmonton Toddler battling leukemia surprised with rodeo adventure at CFR

Click to play video: 'Edmonton toddler treated to special day out of hospital and into a saddle at the CFR' Edmonton toddler treated to special day out of hospital and into a saddle at the CFR
WATCH ABOVE: A young Edmonton boy in the fight of his life with cancer was allowed a day to leave the hospital behind and cut loose at the Canadian Finals Rodeo Sunday. Sarah Kraus reports. – Nov 13, 2016

Two year old Tristan Johnson, who’s been fighting cancer nearly his whole life, was treated to a day in the life of a cowboy.

Tristan and his family were given free tickets to Farmfair International and the Canadian Finals Rodeo on Sunday.

“It’s not just this one little guy who’s fighting cancer, it’s that whole family. So lets give them something to look forward to. What better way to spend a Sunday with your family?” Lori Cote explained, public relations manager for Northlands.

From test driving a bobcat, to getting not one – but two balloons, and taking photos on a bull statue, Tristan experienced everything the show had to offer.

His parents are grateful for the opportunity to give their son a new experience. He’s spent much of his life being ill.

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“It started when he was 11 months old. He was really sick,” explained his mom, Pamela Johnson. After multiple visits to the emergency room, he was diagnosed with leukemia.

“They started treatment right away. The first year was pretty much spent all in hospital.”

His journey with the illness is documented on a string of beads – each one representing another step in his fight – from needles, to chemotherapy, to blood transfusions and surgeries.

“He still continues treatment. He gets two chemo, every day at home – orally,” his mom explained.

Though his cancer is in remission right now, his immune system is compromised. He was just released from another extended stay in hospital.

The rodeo was a much needed reprieve.

“It’s an amazing day for him today. You know he’s having a great time,” his dad, Robert Castor, said.

Tristan’s favourite part of the adventure was petting all the different horses. He calls them Baboo, because his grandpa owns a horse named Mambo, but he has trouble saying that.

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“Tristan’s love for animals and horses is so awesome. He loves going horseback riding,” Johnson said. “It just melts my heart to see Tristan so ecstatic about being here.”

“I’ve had struggles in my life too – but I look at him and he’s an inspiration for me. I look at what he’s going through and I say, there’s no giving up, right?” his dad said.

“He’s an amazing little kid and I don’t know what I’d do without him in my life.”

The family has set up a Go Fund Me page to help cover the costs of being with their son while he fights off cancer.

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