WATCH: The Shriners of BC and Yukon are paying for a Sooke boy and his mother to go to Shriners Hospital for Children in Minneapolis which specializes in juvenile arthritis. April Lawrence reports.
Landen Alexa was making a splash on his seventh birthday Tuesday at the Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park in Washington State.
“Having a blast ya, he’s loving the games and the waterslides,” said Alexa’s mother Jill Lanthier.
The trip, donated by Langford restaurant Mr. Mikes, was a small escape for the boy who spends most of his days trying to cope with the pain from a rare form of juvenile arthritis.
Alexa’s been denied funding from the province three times for a pricey medication that could help his condition. Now the Shriners of BC are stepping in, with plans for another trip south of the border that could make all the difference.
“Boy and mother will be flown to Minneapolis free of charge and he’ll undergo a three-day assessment at our children’s hospital there,” said Shriner Tom Bulmer.
Bulmer has known the family for years and brought Alexa’s case to his fellow Shriners, who chose the Minneapolis hospital because it specializes in Alexa’s condition.
“I’m just impressed at how quickly my brother’s got together and it’s all done,” said an emotional Bulmer. “I just know this family and it’s difficult to see a child in pain like that.”
Lanthier said the trip is giving her renewed hope.
“I think I’m hoping for just some positive feedback of our next steps, their recommendations for Landen and maybe they will have a solution that Landen’s medical team here in Canada hasn’t looked at or approached,” she said.
Or Lanthier said perhaps the doctors in Minneapolis will also recommend Canakinumab and bolster Landen’s pharmacare application in B.C. Either way, the Shriners say they’ll cover it.
“Perhaps it will help the government make their decisions with more information about the treatment of this child, perhaps we’ll treat this child,” said Bulmer.
“Just grateful, we appreciate all the support and love, it gives me hope so thank you,” said Lanthier.
Lanthier is still hoping to raise $57,000 to pay for a three month trial of Canakinumab so the community of Sooke is stepping in to help her get there.
A Love for Landen benefit event will take place March 3rd at Sooke Community Hall.
It features a family carnival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and an adult dance with live music at 8:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 in advance at The Stick and Shoppers Drug Mart or $15 at the door.