The ValleyCare Medical Clinic team and Carol Durrant, right of chair, presented a cheque for $4,800 to Katie Maximick of the Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation and staff of the Cancer Care Unit on Nov. 6 at the North Island Hospital Comox Valley. The funds will purchase a new chemotherapy chair in the Cancer Care Unit in memory of Carol’s son Levi, who died of cancer in 2014.

ValleyCare Medical Clinic buys chemo chair in honour of employee’s son

Levi’s story detailed in a letter written by his mother

On Monday Nov. 6 the team at ValleyCare Medical Clinic visited the Cancer Care Unit at the new North Island Hospital Comox Valley campus to make a special donation.

ValleyCare employee Carol Durrant’s son Levi was first diagnosed with cancer in 2008, then died in 2014 from the disease at only age 24. Over the years of Levi’s battle, Carol’s co-workers came together in an outpouring of support, participating in the Relay for Life as “Team Levi” for five years – up until Levi’s passing – then continuing to fundraise out of their clinic by selling used books to the public.

By this November, the amount of money raised at ValleyCare from book sales was enough to make a really meaningful donation in Levi’s name – together the team decided to purchase a brand new chemotherapy chair for the Cancer Care Unit at the new hospital, donating $4,800 to the Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation.

Soon a plaque will be placed in the unit to commemorate Levi through all of the love shown by those surrounding Carol at ValleyCare Medical Clinic.

Below is a letter written by Carol Durrant to tell Levi’s story:

***

Working in a busy medical clinic, we are exposed to the hurting and suffering of others on a daily basis. It is particularly difficult when a child becomes ill or badly injured. It hits home for all of us, as we know that no one is immune.

In 2008 it became personal. It was my family that received the news that we all dread. Our 18-year-old son Levi was diagnosed with cancer. In an instant our world was turned upside down. Over the following months Levi underwent treatment, facing it like he did all things – head on, full bore. He took it on like a warrior. He had a job to do and he tackled it as he’d once tackled his opponents on the football field – fiercely and without hesitation. It is a helpless feeling to watch your loved one, especially your child, go through that kind of hell. He handled it with immense strength and wicked humour. Giving up was not an option, for him or for us.

We received a lot of support from family and friends, individuals and organizations like YANA, the Make a Wish Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society. My work family at Valleycare Medical Clinic supported my family in every way; from helping us to navigate the foreign world of cancer treatment to making meals for us, and just being a constant support throughout this uncertain time. As Levi recuperated from his treatments I became more aware of how much help we had received and wanted to do something to give back somehow. My Valleycare family immediately got behind us. Levi’s courage and unwavering determination inspired us to want to fight alongside him. We participated in the YANA 12-hour relay fundraiser that year.

When I wanted to put together a team for the Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life, again they jumped on board with me, and Team Levi was created. Over the next five years we raised money through hotdog and bake sales, garage sales, jeans days, bottle drives and any way we could think of for Team Levi. Then someone came up with the brilliant idea to sell used books in our waiting room. This endeavour has been a raging success, with very little effort on our part. People love to trade in their books and we have an absolutely amazing volunteer who comes in weekly to organize and replenish our book supply. Big shout out to Sandra!

We lost Levi in 2014 when the insidious invader returned to claim him. He was 24 years old. His courage and grace and unfailing sense of humour remain with us. He is the voice in my head that never allows me to give up on life and hope.

Through an outpouring of love and support, Team Levi raised $7,958.19 for the Relay for life that year – the top fundraiser for a single team.

Since that time, we haven’t had the same heart for participating in the Relay. Perhaps the all-nighter has become too long for us. In any case, the book sales have continued and we at Team Levi would like to throw our support behind a new project – something tangible to honour and remember him. A state-of-the-art chemo chair at the new hospital Cancer Care Unit seems like the right choice.

Levi was all about things that are beefed up, tricked out, jacked up. I imagine this chair will be all of the above. It is the pilot seat for those at war with a foe from within. I think he would approve.

Carol Durrant

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Levi died of cancer in 2014.

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