BRITISH COLUMBIA

Kyle McConkey, B.C. Teen, Needs $250,000 For Last-Chance Cancer Treatment

11/24/2014 04:28 EST | Updated 11/27/2014 01:59 EST
Joanne McConkey/youcaring.com

Most teens spend the first few months after high school feeling invincible, exploring their new found freedom and seemingly endless possibilities.

Kyle McConkey, however, only has one option after being given just weeks to live.

The 18-year-old has been battling a rare form of leukemia for over two years, first diagnosed on his 16th birthday. Since then, Kyle has had chemotherapy treatments, bone marrow transplants, and stem cell procedures — but the cancer stuck.

This fall, doctors at B.C. Children’s Hospital told the Tsawassen family that time was running out.

“He asked his oncologist how many months he had and the doctor turned around and said weeks,” Kyle's dad Ross told The Huffington Post B.C. “It shattered him. We prepared for what we thought was the inevitable.”

A week later, the McConkeys found a glimmer of hope just south of the border — but with an expensive catch.

Seattle Children’s Hospital is offering an experimental procedure that could help save the teen's life, but because he is Canadian and not insured in the States, the treatment will cost over $250,000.

Kyle's mom Joanne launched an online fundraising campaign last week in an effort to raise the money they need to pay for the procedure.

"We will sell our house if we have to but this means taking our home away from our three children and this would be very hard to do to our family," the description states. But it seems they may not have to.

In just three days, the page has raised over $130,000 in donations and been shared nearly 8,000 times.

“I’m elated,” says Ross. “Now, we've got hope again. We’re going to fight — we’re going to get him down to Seattle.”

Should he receive the treatment, Kyle could regain the strength he needs to undergo yet another transplant that would hopefully get him one step closer to remission, giving him a chance to live like a regular 18-year-old.

“He’s a fighter. My kid wants to live,” says Ross. “He could be in a totally different place because of what he’s been through but he’s not, and for that, I’m grateful.”

UPDATE - Nov. 26, 2014: Less than a week after the fundraiser began, Kyle and his family have reached their fundraising goal of $250,000. Kyle's dad Ross was at a loss for words: "Even Kyle said, 'Dad, we're never gonna get there' - but we did. I'm blown away. I don't know what to say."

Kyle is currently fighting a mild infection caused by his latest transplant, but Ross says it is being treated and they are still on track to make it to Seattle on Dec. 10.

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