Two years and still going strong | Squamish Chief

Two years and still going strong

Pemberton's five-year-old Ty Sangster expects cancer treatment to end this year

It's been almost two years since five-year-old Ty Sangster returned to his Pemberton home following six months of cancer treatment in Vancouver.

"He's doing very well," said mom Kate Sangster. "He's able to attend school and go to ski school (as well)."

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Ty is currently in the maintenance part of his treatment, which involves taking oral chemotherapy. The family is still "very much in this," explained Kate.

That said, with Ty's treatment expected to finish at the end of the year, Kate is positive about the future.

"(This cancer) definitely has a really high success rate of staying at bay," she said. "We are always very, very hopeful that it will never come back."

Ty's recovery so far would not have been possible, said Kate, without BC Children's Hospital staff and the amazing medical team, which included child therapists and volunteers who helped forge a positive environment during his time in Vancouver.

Once on the road to recovery Ty and Kate set about saying thank you in a concrete way. Ty has become a major fundraiser for the BMX Race for Life series, a BMX race series that benefits the Children's Hospital Foundation, and he spent last summer selling cherries to raise money for the hospital.

"He raised $7,723 last year," said Kate.

There is also the annual "Super Ty's Toy Drive." It allows Sea to Sky and Vancouver residents to donate toys, which are hand delivered to kids at the hospital by Ty.

Reflecting on the last several years, Kate is positive and focused on the future.

"It's been incredible the way things happened," she said.

To hear Ty's story is to recognize the power of what Kate calls a "mother's instinct."

She began being concerned with Ty's health when he became wobbly on his feet and his eye coordination seemed off in 2016.

After visiting a doctor several times, Kate pushed for blood work. "I (knew) that blood work can tell a lot," she explained. "It crossed my mind that he might be diabetic."

The results revealed the gravity of the situation, and Ty was quickly transported to BC Children's Hospital. Once there, more blood work confirmed Ty had Leukemia.

As part of Ty's treatment, he had a port installed beneath his skin, used to facilitate blood work and chemotherapy.

"It's been in his chest since he was diagnosed, so he asks a lot of questions about the ports and why are they doing different things," said Kate, adding that he's taken a real interest in his treatment as he's grown older. "He's just very intuitive. He's never been wheezy about it at all."

During the Vancouver treatment the family stayed at Ronald McDonald House in order to be close to Ty's medical team.

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