Every once in a while, a community is touched deeply through the incredible spirit of an individual.
Usually, that individual is an adult of some standing and accomplishment. Occasionally, however, a child will take on that role, and then we are affected in a much greater way.
Sammy Antunez Marquez was a child of such rarity.
His spirit and love of life was joyful. Through his determination and that of his wonderful family, Sammy gave those around him pause to reflect on the truly important things in life.
In the spring of 2010, just a year after arriving in Canada from Mexico, Sammy was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour.
Friends, family, schoolmates and staff were left reeling over the diagnosis. The community came on board and began fundraising to help the family with numerous expenses, as they needed to be with Sammy at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.
Various fundraisers have continued since Sammy’s initial six-week treatment regime ended in July 2010. Monthly visits to Children’s Hospital continued as Sammy underwent monthly chemotherapy treatments.
In spite of rigorous treatments, Sammy lost his battle with cancer on Aug. 18 at Canuck Place in Vancouver.
While Sammy’s family and community continue to reflect on his loss, a sense of amazement at such a brave and spirited child remains a focus.
Medical specialists at Children’s Hospital and Canuck Place often remarked at Sammy’s courage and sense of others throughout his treatments.
Sammy has had an amazing affect on many people in our community as well and none so much as his school community.
In June of this year, Sammy was awarded the Citizenship Award for Grade 6 at Courtenay Elementary School. He was a very popular student with fellow students and staff. The school plans to continue supporting the family as much as possible.
A recent fundraiser from Aug. 20 was co-sponsored by the Comox Valley Multicultural and Immigrant Support Society, along with the Committee for the Antunez Marquez Family and raised $1,255.95. Two garage sales earlier this summer also raised a significant amount of money.
The committee supporting Sammy’s family plans to continue with fundraising to help pay expenses.
We would like to thank the wonderful Comox Valley community, local businesses, School District 71 and especially Courtenay Elementary School for all of their help with fundraising and support for the Antunez Marquez family.
Further monetary donations for the Antunez Marquez family may be made at Fabricland in Courtenay.
— Support Committee for the Antunez Marquez Family