By Rob Vogt, Local Press Writer
A local family is trying to bring awareness and hope as their son battles Stage 2 Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Ben Gilmour, the 16-year-old son of Richard and Desiree Gilmour, was recently diagnosed with the disease and is currently undergoing treatment.
It all started in the winter with a persistent cough that, for a few weeks, Ben just could not shake.
His parents thought it was a cough or cold, but took him to see the doctor.
An x-ray was taken to rule out pneumonia, and it looked normal.
The cough persisted.
Just before the school year ended, Ben started complaining that his chest hurt.
The Gilmours went back to the doctor and, after further tests, a mass was discovered above his heart that shouldn’t be there.
“I really do believe he’s getting the best medical care,” Desiree said.
Things have moved really fast since then.
Ben went to the children’s hospital in Calgary for more tests to get a diagnosis.
After two weeks, that included scans and a biopsy, the Gilmours got the diagnosis.
Ben has Stage 2 Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Once they got the diagnosis, treatment has started.
“It was very quick,” Desiree said.
The first cycle of chemotherapy is done, and the next cycle has started.
Everyone is hopeful and positive.
“He’s a strong kid,” Desiree said.
The Gilmours hope that, by sharing Ben’s story, they can pay it forward for the next family or the next.
“If it can bring awareness and hope,” Desiree said.
Naomi Bullock is a friend of the Gilmours and has known Ben since he was very young.
When she found out about Ben’s diagnosis, she started a Gofundme page.
“There’s a lot of expenses health care doesn’t cover,” she said.
Those can include gas, parking, accommodations and food when travelling to and from appointments.
The chance also increases his dad may miss work too.
Bullock said vacation and sick time can be eaten up pretty fast.
“This is one way I can help,” she said.
The goal of the campaign is to raise $10,000 to assist the family.
“Our Gofundme campaign name and slogan is ‘Ten for Ben’,” she said.
“Often times we think that to make a difference we have to make a huge donation but the reality is if 1,000 people make a $10 donation we reach our goal. I think people often feel like they can’t afford to donate because it needs to be $20 or $50 or a $100 to really help but reality is a $5 or $10 donation made by someone who may not know them at all or may not have much to give is a huge help.
“Not only does it all add up but it also helps others feel like it’s okay for them to make a similar donation instead of just passing it over feeling like they can’t because they don’t have those larger sums available.”
Bullock said the church community has also rallied. They have been doing some meals and “a bunch of lunch” where they are collecting non-perishable snack foods the Gilmours can then take with them to the hospital when they go.
Bullock said it’s another idea of a way one can support the family, or any family dealing with a similar situation where they are making frequent or long stays at the hospital.
Anyone interested in more information on “Ten for Ben” can visit https://www.gofundme.com/ten4ben or contact Naomi Bullock at 403-682-7438.
courage – Ben Gilmour, 16, is going into Grade 11 at Willow Creek Composite High School. He was recently diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin Lymphoma and is undergoing treatment in Calgary. Photo submitted