Special visit for sick child

Seven-year-old Naramata resident Wills Hodgkinson, who is battling a rare form of kidney cancer, was visited at Vancouver's Ronald McDonald House by a local role model who also has battled kidney cancer.

Cpl. Dan Moskaluk, spokesman for the Southeast District RCMP based in Penticton, travelled to the coast on Saturday with his wife Sheanne and spent a few hours with Wills and his family.

Moskaluk is a survivor of stage-four kidney cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 2013. 

"The prognosis wasn't great at all and was deemed terminal," he said, noting he was given a month to two years to live. 

He was deemed cancer free about 15 months later, and credits a lifestyle change in his diet that he — and his wife — had made in 2011 for helping him return to good health.

Moskaluk said it was special being able to connect with Wills, who was diagnosed with a Wilms Tumour in January — a type of kidney cancer that largely affects children.

"Considering that he's from my community and it's similar circumstances with the type of cancer and him being a child, I thought certainly we could lend him some support and share my experience with him," Moskaluk said.

"On one hand, I'm kind of able to empathize with him, but I couldn't imagine as a child what he must be going through."

Several photos and video were shared on Facebook by Moskaluk after the visit, which have garnered appreciation from community members.

Moskaluk said Wills, his family as well as other children he visited were grateful for his time.

"I would say in 32 years of service, that one stands out as a top day."

Moskaluk said he and his wife will both be at a fundraiser for Wills being hosted on Sunday, which runs from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Adidas Sportsplex, located at 550 Eckhardt Avenue.

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