Cameron Bulger was diagnosed with brain cancer at age 6 and passed away 2 1/2 years later. While BC Children’s Hospital is home to experts leading the way in treating the most aggressive cancers, a devastating 20 per cent of children who are diagnosed with cancer will not survive the next five years.

A childhood story of love, loss and hope

Supporting the fight to conquer childhood illnesses

It was a phone call that Glenn and Sharon Bulger will never forget. On Jan. 18, 2018, their son’s school called to tell them that Cameron suddenly wasn’t able to speak or make eye contact with anyone.

“When I got to the school and went up to Cameron, his gaze went right past me,” Glenn said. “We were rushed to the hospital from there.”

A CT scan at their local hospital in Surrey revealed that the six-year-old had a mass in the right frontal lobe of his brain. He was quickly transferred to BC Children’s Hospital, where he underwent surgery that successfully removed 99 per cent of the mass.

But after additional tests, the family received unfathomable news: Cameron had an aggressive form of brain cancer, known as a grade IV malignant embryonic brain tumour. Over the next six months, he endured rounds of chemotherapy and stem cell transplants.

After his treatment, Cameron was declared in remission. But just months later, his cancer returned – this time, it had spread to an inoperable part of his brain.

Determined to save their son’s life, Sharon and Glenn explored all possible new drug trials worldwide, with the support of their oncology care team at BC Children’s. However, the disease progressed so quickly that ultimately, the one option left wasn’t available to him soon enough.

On May 16, 2020, two and a half years after he was first brought to the hospital, Cameron passed away peacefully, at home, surrounded by his loved ones.

Challenging the status quo

BC Children’s Hospital is home to experts who are leading the way in treating the most aggressive cancers – but even so, a devastating 20 per cent of children who are diagnosed with cancer will not survive the next five years. Cameron was one of the 20 per cent. As Dr. Caron Strahlendorf, Division Head of Pediatric Oncology, Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant at BC Children’s Hospital explains, so much more needs to be done to improve outcomes for children.

“We are very fortunate that we’ve seen greatly improved cancer survival rates over the decades,” said Dr. Strahlendorf. “However, there are still children who are succumbing to their diagnoses or who live with life-long side effects as a result of the treatments used to heal them. BC Children’s is determined to change that.”

Philanthropy plays a powerful role in helping experts push the boundaries of what’s possible in childhood cancer care, as well as countless other health challenges that kids face. That’s why BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, the hospital’s fundraising arm, is on a mission to rally British Columbians in supporting the cutting-edge technology and groundbreaking research that are needed to conquer childhood illnesses.

“Donors are so important to helping us advance research and improve care,” explained Dr. Strahlendorf. “For instance, they help enable our team of scientists and clinicians to identify what is causing these children to react differently to treatments – and to determine if there’s something unique about their cancer that will enable us to take a more personalized approach.”

For families like the Bulgers, it can bring renewed hope when it’s needed most.

“We ran out of time to save Cameron, but together, we have the chance to save other children who are diagnosed with rare and hard-to-treat cancers,” Sharon said.

Interested in learning more about how you can support the fight to conquer childhood illnesses? Watch Cameron’s story and to donate and learn more, please visit bcchf.ca.

Sharon Bulger, whose son Cameron passed away from cancer, joins BC Children’s Hospital Foundation in rallying British Columbians to support the cutting-edge technology and groundbreaking research needed to conquer childhood illnesses.

Sharon Bulger, whose son Cameron passed away from cancer, joins BC Children’s Hospital Foundation in rallying British Columbians to support the cutting-edge technology and groundbreaking research needed to conquer childhood illnesses.

FamiliesHealth and wellnessPhilanthropy

Just Posted

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Do you know someone who should not be driving?

We are currently living about 10 years longer than our ability to drive safely.

Chris Wilkinson
Chris Wilkinson column: Time to slow down to speed up

In a society where we learn (are forced?) to multitask like crazy

A COVID-19 exposure has been reported at Shawnigan Lake School. (Citizen file photo)
Island Health reports COVID-19 exposure at Shawnigan Lake School

Shawnigan Lake School has been added to the list of schools in… Continue reading

Peas are great to grow in the garden, but a trellis for them in an A frame shape will offer more portability and wind resistance. (Citizen file)
Mary Lowther column: Making a foldable pea trellis on winter agenda

My previous methods required starting anew every spring

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson Column: Books open up a world of discovery

We try to eat dinner as a family every night. It happens… Continue reading

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Most Read