Whitby hockey player defeats cancer, launches SickKids fundraiser

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Whitby hockey player defeats cancer; launches SickKids fundraiser
WATCH: After a six-month battle, a young Whitby, Ont., hockey player is now cancer-free and working to help other kids going through the same fight – Feb 24, 2021

A young Whitby, Ont., hockey player defeated her toughest opponent last month. After a six-month battle with cancer, Tiya Bainbridge is now cancer-free.

Through her journey, the 11-year-old launched a campaign — Tiya’s Purpose — to help other kids going through the same fight.

Tiya Bainbridge has been spending countless hours on the backyard rink, working on her shot and improving her stick handling.

“It’s one of my favorite things to do,” she said, noting hockey has been the distraction she needed after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma last summer.

“I couldn’t even take all the information in … it was just so hard,” said Tiya.

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“She had all the side effects that go along with cancer but every day she just continued to move forward with a very positive attitude,” said Terry Bainbridge, Tiya’s dad and coach.

“She has been incredibly brave, strong and resilient,” said Meera Vignarajah, Tiya’s Mom.

Tiya’s cancer journey inspired her to do something to help others who might have to fight cancer also. She created Tiya’s Purpose, a campaign to raise money for SickKids in Toronto.

“This is such a battle. {She said] ‘What can I do? I want to start campaigning.’ She contacted her friends, her family and said ‘I want to make these bracelets. Will you help me?'” said Tiya’s mom.

“At the beginning, I wanted to raise $10,000. We hit that goal in like three days and then we made the goal to $15,000,” said Tiya.

Tiya’s since blown that out of the water — she’s raised more than $37,000 for SickKids. The money will be going to help fund a new hospital and cancer research.

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“To see the strength of Tiya and her family to come through all that she went through and then decide that she wanted to give back to the hospital and all the other kids and families that were in the hospital is really incredible,” said Katie McHugh-Escobar, with the SickKids Foundation.

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After weeks of chemotherapy at SickKids, Tiya marked a milestone last month, ringing the bell to signal that she was cancer-free.

“It was one of the best days of my life, it was so exciting, I thought it was a dream,” said Tiya.

“She was always with a great attitude, she had a very strong mental space when she came into it … [believing] ‘I’m going to get through this and I’m going to do whatever it takes to get healthy,'” said Tiya’s mom Meera.

Tiya set many goals on her cancer journey, shattering them all. And she’s especially excited about her next goal, which is to be back on the ice with her teammates in the coming months.

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