‘Mom, we got this.”
The words are simple and strong, and spoken on a regular basis in recent months by Surrey seven-year-old Cameron Bulger.
It’s a powerful declaration, given that Cameron is fighting brain cancer.
“I’m pretty proud of him,” Cameron’s mom, Sharon Bulger, told Peace Arch News last week.
“To see your kid facing adversity like this and see how they overcome it. If he was crying and hating it and miserable, no one would really blame him, because it’s awful. But he’s chosen to be really quite steadfast in this… to weather this as best he can.”
Turns out, Cameron is an inspiration outside of his family as well.
The Sunshine Hills Elementary student is the drive behind White Rock RCMP Const. Carly Godlien’s efforts in this year’s upcoming Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley, an 800-kilometre cycling trek to raise funds for pediatric cancer research, treatment and support programs.
Godlien was not available to speak with PAN prior to press time Thursday, but Bulger said that after meeting the officer, her family had no hesitation agreeing to Cameron being “the face” for her ride.
“She just blew us away,” Bulger said. “She is the kindest person. She has, really, a real passion for what she’s doing.
“Her and Cameron just hit it off,” Bulger added. “He adores her.”
As of this week, Godlien has raised more than $7,100 for the cause – the fourth-highest amount so far among the Tour de Valley team’s 39 listed participants.
In addition to raising funds, Godlien has pledged to donate 12 inches of her hair to Wigs for Kids if her personal total reaches $12,000.
She was connected to Cameron through his grandfather, Ian McLean, a longtime White Rock volunteer.
“We obviously believe (the efforts are) going to help others,” McLean told PAN, noting the family wants to do what they can “to educate the world.”
“Short of putting the family at risk,” he added.
That has included donating some of Cameron’s stem cells, as well as his tumour, for research purposes.
In a note to friends and associates, McLean explains his support for Cops for Cancer.
“I could never have imagined the heartbreak of what the family has to endure watching this poor boy as he goes through the long phases of cancer treatments and the anguish of Cameron and his parents as they guide him through this armed only with their faith and the hope for a satisfactory conclusion at the end of this journey,” he writes.
Bulger, in describing her son’s strength, also pointed to faith’s role.
“Cameron has showed us a strength of character – gosh, we are so proud of him as parents. We just feel like God really prepared him for this,” she said.
Cameron’s innate sense of logic has also helped on the difficult treatment journey, she said.
“If he knows the why, he’s happy to do what he needs to do. He muscles through it.”
Cameron – currently in the midst of his third 21-day chemotherapy cycle at BC Children’s Hospital – went from being an active, seemingly healthy youngster to seriously ill in a heartbeat.
He was rushed to Surrey Memorial Hospital on Jan. 18 after he started having seizures in class. That evening, doctors found a mass in his brain and he was transferred to BCCH.
Due to swelling in his brain, doctors couldn’t diagnose the mass, and Cameron was sent home with his family six days later “to wait it out” at their Panorama home for four to six weeks.
At that time, his mom said, cancer “wasn’t even on the radar” for the family.
Less than three weeks later, however, Cameron began vomiting violently. An MRI showed doctors that the mass had doubled in size, and four days later, they operated. Ten days later, Cameron’s family was told he had a rare form of brain cancer.
Bulger said as hard as everything has been, being kept in the loop on what is happening has made a huge difference.
“We can’t control it. We’re doing everything we can to try to do this as best we can,” she said.
Bulger said she is seeing the impact of fundraising efforts like Cops for Cancer firsthand. Last Friday, she met a girl for whom treatment wasn’t even an option when she was first diagnosed, but now, through research, there is a regime that could save her life.
She hopes stories like Cameron’s will help further such strides.
“If people felt moved by it, we’d love to see them choose to support Carly,” Bulger said. “One of the things we’ve learned in here is that research is the only way that this works.”
Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley – one of four tours taking place across B.C. in September – is set for Sept. 13-21. To donate to Godlien’s efforts, visit www.tinyurl.com/yataqk8s