For Marcel Christopher Prince, It’s not about looking back; it’s all about looking into the future.
The 19-year-old, who was born and raised in Fort St. James, has overcome many health issues since being diagnosed with leukemia four years ago.
Treatment after treatment, his aunt, Bernice Wilkes, has seen her nephew go through so much since first being diagnosed.
“It’s been hard watching him go through this, but he is so strong, he’s a fighter,” Wilkes said.
Just this past August, Prince left Fort St. James suddenly due to severe pain in his abdomen.
He arrived at the Children’s Hospital in Vancouver shortly after.
According to family, they thought Prince might not make it through this time. His counts were low and the bowel infection continued causing serious pain.
And this wasn’t all.
Soon after, inflammation of the intestine persisted, pneumonia and then shingles.
“There was a moment when he told me that he doesn’t want to do this anymore,” Wilkes said.
“It hurt so much to hear this, to hear that he is ready to give up,”
Only Prince did not give up.
Today, Prince is residing at the Ronald MacDonald House in Vancouver. He has overcome all that has recently come his way.
“He’s bounced back and looks so healthy,” Wilkes said with a tearful smile. “All he has now is his chemotherapy treatments.”
“He’s even eating. His grandfather is making him lots of fish and moose. This is what he loves.”
Prince’s grandparents, Edna and Laverne Cameron, raised their grandson from birth.
“He was born with down syndrome. His grandparents dedicated themselves to raising him as normally as possible and in their traditional ways,” Wilkes said.
And tradition and family is what Prince loves most.
“Oh, and baseball, he loves baseball,” his aunt quickly adds.
Recently, Prince received a visit form the local baseball team from Nak’azdli Band who arrived in Vancouver bearing a first place trophy to present to Prince.
“He was in heaven,” Wilkes said. “He loves them so much.”
Prince has always been part of the team wearing his uniform and making sure all are ready to play before each game.
“You would think he was the coach,” Wilkes said.
Despite all that Prince has gone through, his main concern has always been with his family and friends.
“He’s always worried about everyone else,” Wilkes said.
“This is what makes him so special. He has unconditional love for everyone.”
And according to Wilkes, it’s also his faith that keeps Prince so strong.
“He’s a true believer in his faith. He always carries his rosary and asks everyone to pray for him.”
Prince will be staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver until May, 2017 and plans are in the works to have chemotherapy treatments transferred to Prince George.
“It’s a while away but he’s already so excited about coming home,” his aunt said.
“Marcel, he never looks back at what’s happened. He only moves forward,” Wilkes said.
His family is so thankful for all of the support received from the community as fundraising will continue to cover costs including travel, food and accommodation.
“The community has helped so much,” Wilkes said. “No words can describe what they have done for us as a family.”