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BC Cancer fundraiser honours memory of West Vancouver teen

Featuring an annual Rockridge basketball tourney, this year’s Miles for Myles aims to raise $180,000 for pediatric cancer treatment
Myles Lindsay (front) and his brothers Nathan, Cole and Matthew. | Courtesy of Lana Lindsay

When 14-year-old Myles Lindsay was diagnosed with cancer, he didn’t say, “why me?”

Through surgeries and rounds of chemo, he never complained and he didn’t give up, explains his mother Lana Lindsay.

That’s why his family is determined to make this month’s Workout to Conquer Cancer fundraiser their biggest ever, two years after Myles’s death on June 1, 2022.

Throughout the month of May, the Lindsay family will be raising money for pediatric cancer treatment in their Miles for Myles campaign. This year, the family aims to raise $180,000, which would bring their three-year fundraising total to $600,000.

As in previous years, the campaign inspires potential donors through athletic events, including the third-annual Buckets for Myles Basketball Tourney on May 4 at Rockridge Secondary – where Myles was a student – and the F45 Training Ambleside Beach District fundraiser on May 11.

Growing up, Myles was a funny and mischievous guy who was liked by everyone, Lana said.

Other than needing a bone marrow transplant at six-months old, he had happy childhood, attending Caulfeild Elementary in West Vancouver.

Myles and his twin brother Nathan were a sporty pair that loved soccer, baseball and fishing.

“He loved to just go out on the on the dingy with his brother and go fishing,” Linsday said. “A typical teenager just hanging out with his buddies, very social.”

But in his first year at Rockridge, Myles started getting sick. In the fall of 2020, he started throwing up. It got worse and he started to lose a lot of weight, Lana said.

Fundraiser started as positive distraction during difficult battle with pediatric stomach cancer

“We just knew something was wrong,” she said. “It took us months of advocating and really pushing the medical system to figure out what was wrong, because they just kept dismissing it.”

Finally in March 2021, Myles saw a pediatric gastroenterologist. An X-ray showed a tumour at the base of his stomach, which was missed in a previous test. Immediately, they took him to BC Children’s Hospital.

“That’s when it all fell apart. That’s when he was diagnosed with stomach cancer,” Lana said.

At first, his family thought they could just remove his stomach, but the cancer had already spread to his abdomen.

Myles was quickly diagnosed with Stage 4 diffuse infiltrating gastric cancer, and was told he would start chemotherapy.

While the news was devastating, Myles had an amazing support group of friends and extended family who all came together at the time.

As it was all happening with May approaching, Myles’s aunt Susan had the idea to participate in Workout to Conquer Cancer.

“So she thought, ‘Let’s just do like to have a distraction, and get Myles involved and get all the cousins and his brothers, and everyone we could involved in raising money,” Lana said.

All his cousins were asking him what kinds of workouts they should do, so Myles helped plan various activities. One of his cousins, Riley, asked Myles to design a route for him to run. Being a teenage boy, he came up with a teenage boy idea.

“He’s like, ‘Well, you gotta do the shape of a penis,’” Lana said. “So that’s what Riley did. They mapped it out around Children’s Hospital.”

Going into the month-long fundraiser, they had a goal of $20,000. They raised $85,000.

“It was just amazing. Myles was quite excited that it was him that raised it,” Lana said.

A year later in 2022, he set an ambitious target of $100,000. But they doubled it, raising $200,000.

Myles found out the exciting news right before going into surgery. Because the cancer hadn’t progressed any further, and due to other complications, doctors agreed to remove his stomach.

The surgery couldn’t have gone better, and Myles’s family was ecstatic.

But a steroid he was taking thinned out some of his tissue so much that Myles ended up going septic. He passed on June 1, 2022 at age 15.

It was devastating, Lana said.

'It just feels like he’s pushing us to keep going'

Following his death, the outpouring of support was incredible, Lana said – from friends, family and also his medical staff.

“It was amazing how our community came together, and just how he impacted surgeons and his doctors and oncologists and nurses.… They said, ‘We’ll never forget him, he was just so unique to us and so special to everyone,’” Lana said.

Part of the reason why Myles’s treatment journey was so difficult, Lana explained, is a relative lack of resources for young people with stomach cancer. That’s why funds raised in the Miles for Myles campaign are going toward new pediatric therapies being developed by Dr. Poul Sorenson with BC Cancer.

There have been times over the past year when Lana has thought about not continuing with the campaign.

“But it just feels wrong to not do it,” she said. “It just feels like he’s pushing us to keep going, and keep his humour alive and keep the spirit alive.”

They also want to help other families facing similar situations, Lana said. 

"If we can help a family and another child not go through what Myles went through, that’s huge."

How to support Miles for Myles

For more information about the campaign, or to make a donation, visit the Miles for Myles page on the Workout to Conquer Cancer website.

From there, you can register for or support the Buckets for Myles Basketball Tourney on May 4. Spectators are encouraged.

You can also donate to or register for the F45 Training Ambleside Beach District fundraiser on May 11. There will be free workout classes, followed by a social event.