Topley 4-H, a club that focuses on youth development, is planning to raise money for a Houston teenager who’s fighting cancer.
The club will sell a steer, which was donated by a local family, as part of an auction at the Bulkley Valley Exhibition in Smithers.
Proceeds will go to the family of Landon Thiessen, who was diagnosed in March with stage-four Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer.
Although there’s no set goal, Wendy Siemens, beef leader with the Topley 4-H, said the club hopes to raise “as much as possible.”
“The [4-H] kids really want to support another youth in our community, so they want all the funds to go to him to help him through it,” said Siemens.
Except for two short visits home, the 15-year-old has been in Vancouver receiving treatment since mid-February, said his father Jerry Thiessen, noting he’s expected to be there until October.
Landon has completed several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. Since the cancer has affected movement of his left leg, he now relies on crutches or a wheelchair. He’s expecting surgery to replace his left femur with a prosthesis in September.
“We don’t know how this will affect his mobility yet,” said Jerry, adding the surgery will be followed by extensive physiotherapy. “Some patients still skate and ski [after surgery and physiotherapy], and Landon hopes to be one of those of course.”
Landon joined the Houston Minor Hockey league in the 2017/18 season and enjoyed the experience, said Jerry, adding his son also enjoys other outdoor activities such as horseback riding.
Landon started experiencing pain in November, and it halted his skating in the beginning of December, said Jerry.
“He spent several months looking for help for the pain and the loss of use of his left leg [before being diagnosed in March].”
Landon’s steer will be the last item sold at the Aug. 24 auction, which starts at 2 p.m. at the fairgrounds’ beef livestock ring.
One of the world’s largest youth organizations, 4-H can be found in more than 70 countries across the globe. It teaches life skills to youth between the ages of six and 21 through experiential learning programs.