Jayden Lee of Chilliwack stands on a summit in Quebec. (Submitted photo)

Jayden Lee of Chilliwack stands on a summit in Quebec. (Submitted photo)

No mountain too high for Chilliwack man

After lengthy cancer treatment, Jayden Lee explored the wilds of Gaspé National Park

Jayden Lee has such a passion for life that even cancer couldn’t destroy it.

He was just 16 when he started to feel like his body was getting weaker. He started eating better and training more, but nothing helped increase his energy. Where he previously could handle a 10k run easily, he couldn’t even run a lap at the school track.

But determined, Lee kept at it until one day he fainted. The diagnosis, on Jan. 28, 2015, was acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It was the start of three and a half years of treatment for the teenager.

While it could be the start of a sad story, Lee says it was an important turning point in his life.

“Getting sick was by far the best thing that could happen to me,” Lee says. Now age 20, and a licensed Realtor here in Chilliwack, he says his illness forced him into a new way of life.

“I was getting into partying,” he admits, but his months-long stays in hospital gave him a new “appreciation for life.”

He kept up with his school work in the BC Children’s Hospital, inspired by the nurses there and their exceptional way of caring for kids.

“I saw what the nurses did for me,” he says. So he got all of the requirements needed to study nursing after graduation. But because of his cancer treatment, he wasn’t able to volunteer in hospitals until he was able to be re-immunized.

Not wanting to be idle while waiting, he decided to give real estate a try. He fell in love with his new-chosen career, graduating from the program at the age of 18.

“Now I’m doing really well and I love it,” he says. “If I didn’t get sick I wouldn’t have found this.”

He’s just finished his treatment, and in December was at the hospital for a checkup. While he was there, he heard about a program for young cancer patients called On the Tip of the Toes Foundation. He eagerly applied, and last month he traveled to Quebec where he joined 10 other young Canadians on an unforgettable journey.

From March 9–16, the group of 11 who are all in cancer remission, and aged 19 to 29, traveled to the Chic-Chocs. The expedition on a mountain range in the central region of the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec brought together young people from Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, selected by the medical staff of various oncology centres across Canada.

“They flew us out to Quebec City, and we stayed in a hotel that night,” Lee says. “Then we drove eight hours to Gaspé National Park where we spent three nights in cabins and did little day trips. After those three days we left there and drove a little bit, parked in a parking lot, and snowshoed into day camp, where we set up a camp in the mountain for another three days.”

The first day they spent learning how to set up an outdoor winter camp, including kitchen set up. They traveled with a medical team, and each person did their best to get the most out of the trip.

“On the second day, we hiked the biggest hike, the summit,” Lee says. “In B.C. there is always something higher but here we had a 360 degree view. It was one of the most amazing things I have experienced. It hit every emotion and reminded me of how grateful I am for everyone and everything in my life.”

The On the Tip of the Toes Foundation has organized expeditions since 1996 that are intended for young Canadians undergoing cancer treatment or in cancer remission.

“These expeditions offer participants the opportunity to change the environment and interact with other young people with cancer who, like them, go through the same ordeal. These youths return home changed, ready for a fresh start, and strengthened by a source of motivation that will accompany them throughout their lives”, says Jean-Charles Fortin, Director of the On the Tip of the Toes Foundation.

The group was not allowed to use phones, watches, or any technology, a feeling Lee calls “super weird and refreshing.”

Overall, it was the perfect trip to match Lee’s zest for life. And while on the trip, he was able to spread some of that positivity he’s become well-known for.

“A couple of people, they took it pretty rough and were maybe not in the greatest headspace,” he says. “I was able to share my story, and how I took it as a positive thing. A few were able to say they’d never thought of it like that before.”

Perhaps the best news of all, is that Lee is back to his healthy self. He’s in remission, and feeling as strong as ever.

“I’m 100 per cent good now,” he says. “I go to the gym five days a week.”

For more information about the Foundation, future trips, and fundraising, visit www.pointedespieds.com.


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

 

No mountain too high for Chilliwack man

Just Posted

The University of the Fraser Valley Peace and Reconciliation Centre
UFV students hold online forum on peace and reconciliation

Two online sessions on Feb. 25 include student research

A new Fraser Valley food hub in Abbotsford will include shared kitchen space that can be accessed by small and medium-sized businesses. (Stock photo by Robyn Wright from Pixabay)
Almost $2M to support new Fraser Valley food hub in Abbotsford

Project being developed by District of Mission and Mission Community Skills Centre

The Hope Fire Department is sending a team up Hope Lookout in lieu of the traditional Climb the Wall event. The climb up the Lookout Trail is postponed until mid-March due to heavy snowfall. (Photo/Hope Fire Department)
HFD’s Climb the Wall event postponed due to heavy snow

This year’s climb now takes place on March 14 at the Hope Lookout Trail

Classroom chairs (Pixabay photo)
SD78 expecting fewer students in schools over next three years

The school district shared its projected enrolment numbers at the board meeting on Feb. 16

Nietzsche, the ginger cat who worked at The Book Man, poses for a photo on Sept. 7, 2017. He died on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Famous Chilliwack bookstore cat, Nietzsche, dies

‘Every single thing you could want in a cat, Nietzsche embodied,’ says Amber Price

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

A woman boards a transit bus through rear doors, in Vancouver, on Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
TransLink slow to reveal crucial details about ransomware attack, says union

Union says company took months to admit what info was stolen, including SIN and bank account details

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Travis Selje with Rex, the family dog he got to enjoy for the final six months of his life. (Submitted photo)
Defence says evidence ‘compelling, overwhelming’ to acquit Surrey woman in deadly crash

Epileptic seizure caused fatal crash that killed Travis Selje, lawyer argues in final submissions

Most Read