The G.P. Vanier basketball teams and ex-Vanier staff and alumni are appealing to the public and in particular Vanier grads to support a fundraiser at Real Canadian Superstore on Ryan Road this Saturday.
Money is being raised to help a former Vanier grad whose young son suffers incredible medical challenges. Vanier basketball players and students will bag groceries and take donations between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. in honour of three-year-old Nathan Loukes.
The son of Joey Loukes, a Vanier grad of 1995 and former Vanier Towhee basketball player, was born blind and later diagnosed with congenital glaucoma. This has led to three painful eye surgeries at Children’s Hospital in Vancouver and recently at Victoria General Hospital.
His eye pressure remains unstable and further surgeries, medications, and corrective lenses will likely be required for the rest of his life. This condition by itself would challenge the strength, character and resources of any family. Unfortunately, this is not the end of young Nathan’s medical issues.
Earlier this year, Nathan was diagnosed with the rare and crippling bone disease osteogenesis imperfecta, which has led to broken bones in his ankles, wrists, finders, toes and two broken vertebrae — his L3 and L5 both have compression fractures.
Nathan is scheduled to begin bone therapy, painful monthly injections to help strengthen his bones, in Vancouver in October. Nathan is being treated by five specialists to manage the complications associated with congenital glaucoma and osteogenesis imperfecta in such a young person.
“Joey was a hard-working student-athlete who characterized good sportsmanship and exemplary behaviour, helping lead our basketball team to the B.C. provincial championship,” said his ex- high school coach Grant Ashlee.
“He was well-liked by his classmates and just a great all-round young man,” added former vice-principal Hugh MacKinnon. “We are so impressed that Vanier athletes and students are donating time for another child with serious medical issues and quite frankly the Loukes family deserves our support for all they have given to our community over the years.”
Donations can also be dropped off at G. P. Vanier school to Teresa Dzuba in the main office. Again, donations will be accepted at Superstore in courtenay this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thanks to Larry Street and Kevin Lee for organizing their players to help bag the groceries and to Teresa Dzuba and Tim Krutzmann’s Leadership class for organizational help and Canadian Superstore for their quick accommodation of this fundraiser.