At just six years old, Eli Johannson hasn’t spent nearly enough time getting scraped knees and dirty fingers and toes. He hasn’t built enough Lego castles or raced enough Hot Wheels.
He hasn’t lived the typical life a young boy should – all because of cancer.
Eli is back at BC Children’s Hospital, battling an aggressive Neuroblastoma cancer, for a second time.
“Sadly and with a shattered heart, we got some very sad news,” his mom Faith reports. “Eli’s scans detected two masses and a couple other active spots in his body.”
It’s a tough pill to swallow for the Coldstream family, as Eli was first diagnosed with the cancer at age three. But like the champ he is, Eli fought the disease hard and won.
So watching someone so young have to take on the same demons again is heartbreaking.
“I didn’t think we’d be back here,” said Eli’s aunt Linsey Johannson. “It was a huge shock. They (Eli’s parents) are both really strong people and I don’t really know how they do what they do.”
Eli has started his third round of treatment since the family found out April 5 and it won’t be until spring 2018, or later, that he will be able to get back to class at Coldstream Elementary and back to being a kid again.
“It’s tough. The treatment’s long and it’s painful,” said Johannson. “But Faith says no matter what’s thrown at him he always seems to handle it and he always remains him. His little personality doesn’t change.
“I think we can do this again.”
While his parents are taking shifts staying down at Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver, struggling with this repeat process, and watching their three-year-old, funds are being raised to help them afford the stay and time away from work.
Family friends Sareena Sharma Nickoli and Dallas Kerr have teamed up to put on a Zumba fundraiser Monday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Vernon Recreation Complex. Special guest Ricardo Marmitte, a Zumba education specialist international presenter, has agreed to come down for the cause.
“He’s like a Zumba superstar,” said Johannson, who will be at Monday’s event.
Tickets are $25 in advance through the Soul Studio App, www.soulstudio.ca (under the schedule) or by calling 250-540-3922. Tickets can also be purchased at the door for $30.
Those who would like to help but can’t make it to the event can donate online at www.gofundme.com/eli-johannson-fights-neuroblastoma.