Teen faced with devastating diagnosis

Spinal tumour: Community rallies to support family with fundraising accounts, raffle.

Tough news: Kaden Sagh

Tough news: Kaden Sagh

Seventeen-year-old Kaden Sagh had been suffering from a sore back for a couple of weeks.

As he had been working out a lot in order to play for the Armstrong Shamrocks of the Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League, he attributed the soreness to all the running and weight lifting he’d been doing.

He went to the chiropractor for a couple of weeks to help relieve the pain, explains his aunt, Kim Wiens.

However, on the weekend of Dec. 12 and 13, he began having trouble with his left leg. On Tuesday, Dec. 15 he woke up and couldn’t walk.

His family rushed him to the emergency department at Shuswap Lake General Hospital. He was transferred to Kamloops where a neurologist ordered an MRI. Less than 12 hours after waking up he was being flown to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver by air ambulance. Tests had revealed a tumour on his spinal cord.

The next day he underwent a seven-hour surgery to remove the growth. Doctors were able to remove only 90 per cent of it because of the risk to the spinal cord.

Although he woke up from surgery with no movement in his legs, recovery is promising, explains a GoFundMe account set up to support Kaden and his family – parents Steven and Kerry and 14-year-old brother Devon.

However, more bad news was forthcoming.

Tests showed the tumour was malignant and Kaden would have to undergo five weeks of radiation and chemotherapy.

“It was the most horrifying week of our lives,” says Wiens of the tumour’s discovery.

She says her sister Kerry, Kaden’s mom, has taken a leave of absence from her job in order to stay with Kaden in Vancouver.

Steven, Devon and extended family members are going back and forth, but Steven will have to continue working part-time, and Devon has returned to school.

Kaden is facing a long and difficult rehabilitation in the next few months to a year, says Wiens, and the family likely won’t know until March if the tumour is responding well to treatment.

She emphasizes that although Kaden is fearful, he’s determined to get back full use of his legs.

Along with being an emotionally devastating time for the Sagh family, it’s also an expensive one.

In addition to the GoFundMe fundraiser, accounts have been set up at the Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union branches in Salmon Arm, Sorrento and Sicamous. The accounts can be accessed by asking for the Kaden Sagh Road to Recovery Fund.

As well, several businesses are selling raffle tickets for a carved wooden bench made by family friend Dean Gollan. Tickets can be purchased at: Save On Foods. Lordco, Hideaway Pub, Hideaway Liqour Store, Shuswap Extreme Recreation and Emco.

Tickets are being sold until Jan. 31.

Wiens says although Kerry and Steven don’t like having to accept financial help, they’ve been amazed by people’s support.

“People you don’t even know ask if there’s anything they can do… Everybody’s there to help.”