Wills Hodgkinson and dad Tim cuddle in the shade of a fire truck visiting Holy Cross Elmentary during a rare trip home from Vancouver earlier this year.                                Western News file photo

Wills Hodgkinson and dad Tim cuddle in the shade of a fire truck visiting Holy Cross Elmentary during a rare trip home from Vancouver earlier this year. Western News file photo

‘Hero’ kid fighting cancer helping with B.C. Children’s Hospital fundraiser

Penticton’s Wills Hodgkinson helping raise funds for B.C. Children’s Hospital

Wills Hodgkinson, the eight-year-old Penticton boy who was diagnosed earlier this year with a rare form of kidney cancer, is giving back to the B.C. Children’s Hospital, where he has been living for much of the year.

Wills is now appearing on posters for the Dream Lottery, one of the major fundraisers for the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation, supporting research to help care for the tens of thousands of kids that rely on the B.C. Children’s Hospital for specialized care.

Wills’ father Tim said the family — mother Neely Brimer and younger sister Scarlett — are happy to do anything they can to help the hospital, where a dangerously large Wilm’s tumour was removed from Wills’ kidney, and progress was made on lung tumours.

“Their care is second to none. I can’t say enough about the good people there,” said Tim, who is cautiously optimistic about the future.

Related: Community shows support for seven-year-old battling cancer

Wills is still receiving treatment in Kelowna, but the family is now home and working on returning to a normal routine, including Wills getting back to school.

“Four of the eight tumours he had on his lungs are reduced to microscopic proportions,” said Tim, adding that the family is hoping for good news when Wills is next tested.

“We’re hopeful they are going to be reduced to a more manageable size.”

Coming home has raised Wills’ spirits.

“Being back with his friends has just done wonders,” Tim said. “He’s even back, to a limited degree, at football with the Pinnacles.”

Related: Schoolmates welcome home Penticton boy fighting cancer

Unlike most kids, Wills was looking forward to getting back to school this fall.

“Because he’s not been able to go to school, that’s the only thing he has wanted to do,” said Tim. “Just be one of the kids, just be normal.”

Wills isn’t quite normal, though. Since he has become the hospital’s poster boy, people have been recognizing him wherever he goes.

“Wills isn’t shy in coming forward,” said Tim. “People came up to him everywhere. He is happy to talk about the Children’s Hospital.”

It might have been back to school for Wills, but it was the starting school for the first time for his younger sister, Scarlett, who was going to the same school he started in. Wills took it on himself to give Scarlett the Grand tour.

“He is a very proud brother. They are very close,” said Tim.

Related: Ordeal intensifying for seven-year-old battling cancer

The nightmare for Wills and family started in January when the boy started complaining of a severe tummy ache. Tim took him to Penticton Regional Hospital, where they discovered a tumour attached to his kidney.

Related: Support pouring in for Penticton boy fighting cancer

When Tim called Neeley, her world stopped.

“He told me they had found a gigantic tumour. My body went numb. When I got to the hospital, I wanted to hug him but I needed to pull myself together first. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” she said.

When surgeons at the Children’s Hospital Teck Acute Care Centre went in to remove the tumour, they found it was so large, it had fused to other organs. Weeks of chemotherapy was required to shrink the tumour enough so that it could be removed.

But there was more bad news when doctors found eight tumours on Wills’ lungs.

Wills isn’t out of the woods yet, but things are moving in the right direction, and the family thanks the staff at Children’s Hospital.

“We have felt so taken care of,” Neeley said, adding that the staff at the hospital have also helped Scarlett. “Scarlett was in a safe environment with people who know what they are doing with a 2.5-year-old. I’ll always be thankful for that.”

Neeley said she’s also thankful for her son’s courage.

“He never gave into the sickness. He’s been so almost adult about it. His intellect has really blown me away during this. He’s my hero,” she said.

There are seven grand prize packages in total for the Dream Lottery. The grand prize winner can choose one of two homes located in Plateau (South Surrey), a home in Grandview Heights (South Surrey), a combined luxury home package located in Mount Pleasant (Vancouver) and Sorrento East by Pinnacle (Richmond), a home in Predator Ridge (Vernon), and a luxury residence in SookePoint (Vancouver Island), or $2.2 million tax-free cash. The largest grand prize package is worth more than $2.7 million.

Dream Lottery ticket prices are: three-packs for $100, six-packs for $175, nine-packs for $250 and 20-packs for $500. The lottery also includes extra games: the 50/50 Plus Lottery with a maximum prize payout up to $1,140,000 (depending on the number of tickets sold), and the Big Passport Plus Game with 101 prizes available to be won.

“The Dream Lottery Grand Prize home in Grandview Heights, South Surrey, is designed to deliver both comfort and wow factor,” said Erin Cebula, B.C. Children’s Hospital Dream Lottery spokesperson. “The home is over 5,000 square feet, with a grand chef’s kitchen, five bedrooms, theatre-style media room, sauna and an elevator. It really is a dream.”

Ticket sales for the 2018 Dream Lottery run until midnight, Oct. 12, and there are 3,157 prizes worth over $3.9 million.

Individuals can purchase their tickets online at bcchildren.com, by phone at 604-692-2333 or 1-888-887-8771, or in-person at London Drugs, Save-On Foods, PriceSmart Food, Urban Affair, BC Children’s Hospital, or at any of the grand prize show homes located in South Surrey.


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or message me on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes shared this photo of the binders and binders of letters and paperwork she’s received on area roads in the past few years. (Submitted photo)
Cariboo MLAs call on province to fix region’s roads

Minister Rob Fleming said more resources were on the way to the region

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

(Kamloops This Week file photo)
Probe into TNRD spending taken over by federal police unit

Financial Integrity Sensitive Investigations Unit is now reviewing the case

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read