Young Abbotsford cancer survivor wins provincial award for fundraising

Air Canada Fan Flight recognizes courageous kids, brings them to meet local NHL teams

Abbotsford high school student Jacob Bredenhof was shocked to find a man-sized killer whale in his house when he arrived home from school last week.

But it wasn’t just any regular man-sized killer whale, it was Fin, the mascot for the Canucks.

He hadn’t quite put it all together yet, but Bredenhof soon realized that he had been recognized by the Air Canada Foundation for his work raising $17,000 during the Terry Fox Run following his cancer diagnosis in the spring of 2018.

“I had no idea that was coming,” Bredenhof said. “It meant a lot to be recognized for what I’ve gone through.”

The Air Canada Fan Flight program selects a young person who has overcome significant obstacles to become “mark-makers,” in their communities. The recipient is surprised with tickets to go watch their local sports team, meet the star-players and be given a spotlight for their efforts.

“When we read [about Bredenhof’s] story, all of us were very very quickly convinced that he would be our mark-maker having gone through what he did and how he continues to give back,” said Melanie Stoute, manager for the Air Canada Foundation.

Bredenhof was brought out to the Canucks home game against the Colorado Avalanche that night and was given a signed jersey by Captain Bo Horvat, met with former goaltender Kirk McLean and was recognized over the speakers at Rogers Arena for his fundraising efforts.

“Seeing all those people standing and clapping for me, the whole day was just really fun,” he said.

When Bredenhof was in Grade 7 he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, the same type of cancer Terry Fox faced over 40 years ago. Instead of entering his first year of high school that September, he was six rounds into chemotherapy. He also just learned he would have his leg amputated.

Bredenhof, an all-star basketball player at his elementary school, was devastated, but was still able to complete two kilometres of the Terry Fox Run on crutches that year.

He became the face of the donation drive and, with the help of his basketball team, shattered the goal of raising $5,000 for cancer research.

The Air Canada Fan Flight has made partnerships with all the NHL teams in Canada to select local fans with accomplishments like Bredenhof’s to come and meet their local sport-stars.

“We like to bring fans closer to the teams that they love,” Stoute said.

Bredenhof was given another surprise at the Nov. 16 home game when he was told he would also be attending the March 13 away game against the Avalanche.

“I had no idea that was coming,” Bredenhof said. “They came up behind me with a camera and there was a pilot holding a giant boarding pass and he gave it to me.”

Bredenhof is not giving up on his athletic future despite losing a leg to cancer. He’s become the manager of his school’s junior basketball team and plans on playing basketball again soon.

“Basketball is my favourite sport and I love playing it,” he said. “Because of my amputation I’d like to go into wheelchair basketball and get into the Paralympics.”


@portmoodypigeon
patrick.penner@abbynews.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

Just Posted

A blaze has broken out on Adams Lake band land near Chase

The Shuswap fire appears to be climbing the hill above the residential area

FortisBC offers 90-day bill deferrals to customers impacted by COVID-19

Customers can apply for the relief program through the utility’s website

VIDEO: Salmon Arm family in isolation rises to musical challenge

The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine used to share efforts to avoid spread of COVID-19

North Okanagan bands together in support against COVID-19

New group launches website with tools to help endure crisis

Shuswap residents, distiller respond to safety, sanitization needs at seniors care facilities

Sicamous’ After Dark Distillery shifts to making sanitizer to support community

WATCH: Salmon Arm artist hosts virtual art show amid COVID-19

Roxi Hermsen’s show “Into the Cosmos” is a tribute to her father Bill Sim

COVID-19: Vernon homeless shelters combine in curling club

Gateway and Our Place shelter sites housed under one roof amid pandemic

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

‘Overwhelming, incredible’ support for foreign workers following West Kelowna COVID-19 outbreak

‘…Our team seems to be recovering well — symptoms are resolving’

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

RCMP pursuit in Okanagan Falls leads to arrest of Penticton man

Seamus Kirby of Penticton is facing numerous charges including flight from police

VIDEO: Teachers at Kelowna middle school shoot video to show support for students

KLO teachers Kayla Rose and Tonia Macgregor were the minds behind the gesture

Most Read