Wills Hodgkinson and sister Scarlett share a moment together Thursday.                                Mark Brett/Western News                                Wills Hidgkinson, watching a bit of TV with his sister Scarlett in the Western News offices and looking healthy and strong. Mark Brett/Western News

Wills Hodgkinson and sister Scarlett share a moment together Thursday. Mark Brett/Western News Wills Hidgkinson, watching a bit of TV with his sister Scarlett in the Western News offices and looking healthy and strong. Mark Brett/Western News

Okanagan boy helping launch B.C. Children’s Hospital Christmas fundraiser

Okanagan cancer survivor stars in Whitecaps/BC Children’s Hospital promo

After being a poster child for the B.C. Children’s Hospital Dream Lottery, Wills Hodgkinson is helping the hospital out once again.

This time it is kicking off their Christmas campaign, along with the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Last January, Wills was rushed to the hospital where doctors found a large tumour attached to his kidney, and eight more tumours on his lungs.

Ten months later, the kidney tumour is removed, the lung tumours have shrunken and Wills is back in school at Holy Cross, with no more chemo or radiation treatments, at least for now.

Related: ‘Hero’ kid fighting cancer helping with B.C. Children’s Hospital fundraiser

“We are going to be here for Christmas and New Years. There was a time when we never expected … that was looking …,” said his father Tim, trailing off and unable to put the possibility into words. “It’s a gift to be back.”

There are four remaining tumours on Wills’ lungs, which Tim describes as “stabilized,” and Wills goes back for more evaluations in January.

“Fingers crossed, if that goes well, then we could really be fully on the right road,” said Tim.

Related: Community shows support for seven-year-old battling cancer

Wills has been back in school now for long enough it’s back to normal for him and his classmates.

“Pretty good, but now it is getting pretty boring,” said Wills, recalling a short visit earlier this year when he wasn’t expected. “They all rushed at me and freaked out.”

For much of the last 10 months, the children’s’ hospital was home for Wills, with his father, mother Neely Brimer and younger sister Scarlett, staying in Vancouver to be at Wills’ side.

“Anything we can do, or that Wills can do, that can support the B.C. Children’s Hospital and the good work they do … we’re happy to do, no question,” said his father, Tim, about Wills participating in the promotional video. “It’s fun and very exciting for him, but the main point is anything we can do to help shine a light on what they do.”

The Big B.C. Snowball Fight for Kids aims to be the largest virtual snowball fight in the province, which every donation to the campaign until Jan. 6 counting as one snowball thrown.

In his video, an obviously delighted Wills runs around, throwing snowballs at Whitecaps players and participating in their practice.

Wills, a soccer player and fan, developed a strong bond with the Vancouver Whitecaps while in Children’s Hospital.

“The Whitecaps have been so much a part of our lives, they’ve been so good. Eric Hurtado, plus Kei Kamara and Jake Nerwinski, those three have been amazing, but particularly Eric,” said Tim.

Wills also has the honour of being named a kid captain by the Whitecaps.

Though he still has far to go, Wills’ attitude towards his cancer is positive, saying he’s done with it, though he’s planning to stay in touch with all his Whitecaps friends.

“It’s really cool. I know everyone on the team now,” said Wills who scores a goal on Kamara in the video.

“Our players and staff have had many interactions with Wills this year and they have come away truly inspired by his love for life and soccer. He’s a fighter who lights up every room he’s in. We hope that in some small way we’ve helped Wills and his family through a difficult period in their lives because they have certainly made a positive impact on our club,” said Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi.

Wills, who is already back playing winter soccer, is clear that he plans to make a career of it.

“Of course! I am getting better every day,” said Wills.

“I’m going to play for the Pinnacles, then when I move up to a club team, I’m going to play for Chelsea, then when I play for a national team, England.”

For more information and fundraising ideas visit bcchf.ca/snowball. To throw your own snowball, make a donation at snowballfightforkids.ca.


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or message me on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Just Posted

Princeton GSAR responds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In 2020 the crew was called out 34 times, and members spent 721 hours on calls, and 683 hours training. Photo Princeton GSAR Facebook
Teen missing in Manning Park found after 24 hours

Young man spends night on mountain and survives with just a few scrapes

The RCMP are asking for assistance regarding the death of Kathleen Richardson of Naramata, pictured here. Her death is believed to be related to two homicides in Naramata in May. (RCMP)
Suspected Naramata homicide victim identified by police

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday

The COVID-19 cases reported over the week of May 30 to June 5. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees second straight week of 17 new COVID-19 cases

Summerland, Keremeos and Princeton all recorded no new cases

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has hired a new FireSmart coordinator. (Black Press file photo)
FireSmart coordinator named for Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen

Kerry Riess will provide assistance to mitigate potential wildfire hazards

The damages to the downtown park in Keremeos. One of the trees that was uprooted was a memorial tree with a plaque. (Submitted)
Memorial tree in Keremeos park uprooted by vandals

All of the trees in the small park were torn up and the statue was shifted

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a summary of this week’s biggest stories from the Okanagan-Shuswap

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Fair-goers take a ride at the 120th annual Armstrong Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede Aug. 28-Sept. 1, 2019. (Katherine Peters - Morning Star)
Armstrong’s IPE not eligible for COVID-19 grant designed for major attractions

Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo criticized the rigidity of the provincial program’s criteria

Two e-scooters parked on the sidewalk along Water Street in downtown Kelowna on Monday, May 3. Scooters parked on walkways are causing accessibility issues for some people with disabilities. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Kelowna General Hospital clinicians observe increase in e-scooter injuries

A report is set to go to city council next week on how the e-scooter pilot has gone thus far

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Most Read