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.

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

Protestors blocking Columbia Avenue Saturday evening. Photo: Betsy Kline
Old growth protesters begin 24-hour blockade of Castlegar’s main street

Members of Extinction Rebellion plan to stay overnight

Forty sled dogs were seized by the BC SPCA from a Salmo kennel in February. A recent ruling has decided the dogs won’t be returned. Photo: Gounsil/Flickr
BC Farm Industry Review Board rules against Salmo kennel after 40 sled dogs seized

Spirit of the North Kennels was also ordered to pay BC SPCA $64,000

Grand Forks musician Nathan Vogel (right) plays the Market Avenue piano installed by the Boundary Street Pianos Project on May 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Boundary music project hoping for funds for street pianos

Coun. Christine Thompson said she’d ask council to fund the initiative if asked by the Downtown Business Association

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Grand Forks’ Brook Thate (left) was given a drive-by parade to mark her graduation from the University of Calgary at her parents’ home Thursday, June 10. Seated in her car is Grand Forks’ Sandra Dorgelo. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks family holds COVID-safe parade for daughter’s university grad

Thursday’s celebration was a small, socially-distanced version of the celebration university grads might’ve had in normal times

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read