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

Vancouver Island University appoints Dr. Judith Sayers as chancellor

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council president is considered a leader in Indigenous rights advocacy

Port Alberni athletes put on fitness ‘FUNdraiser’ for frontline workers

Outdoor boot camp will be limited to 50, with donations helping frontline workers’ mental health

Bamfield residents, visitors pressure province as anniversary of fatal crash approaches

Letter-writing campaign makes ‘heartfelt, emotional pleas’ to improve road conditions

Airforce search and rescue helicopter drops in at Cameron Lake for training

Distinctive yellow CH-149 Cormorant turns heads after using Island lake for impromptu hoist

QUINN’S QUIPS: What makes a building historically significant?

There’s a difference between heritage designation and a heritage register

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Garbage truck knocks down lamp post onto pickup in north Nanaimo

Emergency crews respond to Dickinson Crossing plaza mall Friday afternoon

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Most Read