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

Area A Director Ali Grieve (right), Village of Fruitvale Mayor Steve Morissette (front), and Village of Montrose Mayor Mike Walsh (left) held a congratulatory ceremony for Beaver Valley students who are part of the Class of 2021 graduates of J. L. Crowe Secondary at Beaver Creek Park on Thursday. Photo: Jim Bailey
Beaver Valley Grads of 2021

Beaver Valley mayors, RDKB Area A director celebrate their 2021 graduates with gift ceremony

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

A volunteer delivers food to families as part of a West Kootenay EcoSociety program. Photo: Submitted
Farms to Friends delivers 2,500th bag of food to families in need

The program services communities in the Nelson, Trail and Castlegar areas

Selkirk College has begun its search in earnest for a leader to replace president Angus Graeme who is set to retire from his position in May 2022. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College seeks community input for president search

Current president Angus Graeme retires next year

A report shows nine West Kootenay communities are have more low-income persons than the provincial average. File photo
Study casts new light on poverty in the West Kootenay

Nine communities in region have more low-income residents than provincial average

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read