Joseph Hamill, like many high school graduates, had a plan for his future and was ready to follow it.
A former rugby and football player, the Abbotsford Collegiate class of 2011 grad wanted to join the Canadian Armed Forces. His enlistment date was set for Nov. 17, 2011.
But two days earlier, his plans were changed.
After receiving some disturbing blood test results from his local physician, Hamill was taken to Vancouver General Hospital where he was diagnosed with ALL, Acute Lymphatic Leukemia. He was then transferred to BC Children’s Hospital.
Since then, he has been battling the disease with the only weapons available – chemotherapy, lumbar punctures, biopsies and transfusions.
His ongoing fight and the experience he and his family have been through were the motivation for his mother Liz to create a new foundation.
The Caught In The Middle Dream Foundation is a new entity designed to help young adults aged 19-24 who are battling life-threatening diseases.
Liz got the idea after discovering her son was not eligible for the Make a Wish Foundation because he was over the age of 18.
In fact, he turned 19 just two days before being diagnosed.
“There are no wish programs out there for people like him,” said Liz.
But she quickly added that the new group, which will be based in Abbotsford, is about more than wishes.
She said it will provide information and support for families dealing with similar situations involving older children.
“They are treated like grown-ups, when really they aren’t.”
She said the more people she talks with, the more support for the idea grows.
Liz is still waiting for the government to provide the new association with a charity number, but the name has been trademarked, the Facebook site is up (facebook.com/CaughtintheMiddleDreamFoundation) and a website will be launched shortly.
The group has also established a victim trust account with Coast Capital Savings Credit Union in Joseph Hamill’s name.
Joseph said he is excited about the work his mother is doing because there is a need for it.
He said at 19 it’s already hard to find stable work and start a future without having to battle an illness.
“My dream is, honestly, just to help people.”
That is why he wanted to join the military. Joseph said he wanted to be a peacekeeper, or even help in the medical field, and he hasn’t given up on that dream.
“If my body is physically strong enough, there’s nothing that can stop me.”
If he could have one wish granted, Joseph said he’d love to suit up with the Canadian military and fly to Afghanistan.
A large fundraising event is scheduled for this Friday (5-8 p.m.) and Saturday (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) at Abbotsford Collegiate Secondary School, located at 2329 Crescent Way.
The arts-oriented event features opportunities for the public to, for a donation, paint or sign squares located on the old school building. Chalk art will take place along the pavement, and there will be live music with a variety of local bands including Natural Selection, The Corrupted Gentleman, JD River Jam Band and IDS.
There will also be a dunk tank, barbecue, silent auction and more.
Anyone who wants to donate items for the silent auction can drop them off at Easy Printing at #9 32442 George Ferguson Way.
For information, or if you want to volunteer to help, email email@example.com