Community rallies around seriously ill child

Dave Stewart
Published on January 22, 2016

Eight-year-old Callum Thomson of Pinette proudly displays his autographed jersey from Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators. The jersey arrived at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax on Thursday where Callum is currently being treated for APL leukemia. That treatment will keep the young boy in Halifax for the next nine months. There has been an outpouring of support for the family throughout the Belfast area and across the province.

©Submitted photo

There has been an outpouring of support for the Thomson family.

Brian and Kyla Thomson’s eight-year-old son Callum was diagnosed with APL leukemia by doctors at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown on New Year’s Eve.

Ever since, friends, family, the Belfast community, Island musicians and sports teams from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the NHL have rallied around the family.

A skate at the Belfast Recreation Centre raised $5,480. The Belfast junior C Sabres donated approximately $1,300 from a hockey game (the 50/50 winner donated his winnings). Other hockey teams from across the province have sent money.

Toques with “Go Cal Go” sewn into them have been selling like hot cakes, and bracelets are on sale that say “Kicking It With Callum”.

One of Callum’s best friends, Blake Wilson, made orange leukemia awareness ribbons and raised $300.

“I wanted to help my friend and his family,’’ Blake told The Guardian.

The Charlottetown Islanders and other QMJHL teams have sent care packages to Callum at the IWK.

And the Ottawa Senators sent an autographed Erik Karlsson jersey, T-shirt, hat, two bobbleheads and a couple of autographed pictures.

RELATED: Leukemia diagnosis turns family's life upside down

Callum also received a phone call from Senators head coach and P.E.I. native Dave Cameron.

Miranda MacKenna helped set up an online auction at Bidding closes Jan. 28.

“It is absolutely amazing how people rallied together so quickly for Cal and his family,’’ McKenna said.

A benefit concert featuring numerous musicians is set for Sunday, Jan. 31, 2 p.m., at Belfast Consolidated School.

Kendall Docherty, one of the singers who will perform, said when a child is sick it’s important to help make sure his parents and family are near.

“The community of Belfast has a long history of pulling together to help raise funds for those in need,’’ Docherty said.

“Callum is one lucky boy to live in this community as folks will join together to raise the necessary funds needed so these parents can be with their son; to help him get better without the stress and worry about money.’’

Debbie Cooper Beck, whose son, Quintin, is friends with Callum, said the response has been amazing.

“Callum and Quintin have been best buds since before they could talk, and the first thing I wanted to do was help make things easier for them in such a horrible situation,’’ said Cooper Beck, who helped organize the benefit.

Kyla struggles to find the words to express and grateful she and Brian are.

“Thank you just doesn’t seem like enough,’’ she said.