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

Submitted photo of Town Park C Block apartment fire.
Apartment fire in Port Hardy forces residents to jump from building to save their lives

‘multiple people were transported to the hospital with injuries from falling’

Campbell River city council has given unanimous support to its mayor to continue the fight for the aquaculture industry on our coast. Black Press file photo
Campbell River city council unanimous in support of fish farms

‘I’m certainly not willing to roll over and accept a bad decision,’ says one councilor

Mackenzie Cox representing the first Black Shirt Day at North Island Secondary. (Zoe Ducklow Photo)
Port McNeill Grade 12 student observes Black Shirt Day for anti-racism

‘Wearing that colour T-shirt for that day is a commitment to show that we care.’

Port McNeill council file photo. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Port McNeill council approves utility fees increase

The fees cover the three major services the town provides; water, solid waste and sewage.

Black Press media file
RCMP catch alleged drunk driver

The driver provided breathalyzer samples in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit.

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

The new Malahat Skywalk is expected to be completed by this summer. (Submitted graphic)
Malahat Skywalk expected to be complete by this summer

$15-million project will see 650-metre elevated wooden pathway constructed

U.S. military units march in front of the Capitol, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 in Washington, as they rehearse for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, which will be held at the Capitol on Wednesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden aims for unifying speech at daunting moment for U.S.

President Donald Trump won’t be there to hear it

Williams Lake physician Dr. Ivan Scrooby and medical graduate student Vionarica Gusti hold up the COSMIC Bubble Helmet. Both are part of the non-profit organization COSMIC Medical which has come together to develop devices for treating patients with COVID-19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Group of B.C. doctors, engineers developing ‘bubble helmet’ for COVID-19 patients

The helmet could support several patients at once, says the group

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

Most Read