A 12-year-old Calgary boy is wrapping up his summer holidays with a pretty impressive project.
Ciaran Black is putting in a lot of effort to help a family friend going through a very tough time.
Ciaran has been a competitive swimmer for the past two years, now he’s putting his talent to work to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society.
He decided to take on the task after hearing what his mother’s friend Shelby Pierson has been going through since going in for medical tests in early April 2023.
“I was diagnosed with two types of leukemia,” Pierson said.
The diagnosis led to months of a painful battle for Pierson and her family.
“I had to go through extensive chemotherapy and whole-body radiation,” Pierson said.
Black is tackling his fundraising swim in stages throughout August, swimming a total of 15 kilometres.
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“When his mom told me what he was doing, I honestly cried,” Pierson said. “It was just amazing.”
Black has been receiving donations from as far away as the U.K. and Australia.
“I think it’s great,” Pierson’s husband Ryan Chappell said. “Nobody asked him to do this, he just decided to do this all on his own.”
The pre-teen is appealing for support on Facebook.
“He’s been up at 6 o’clock, 7 o’clock in the morning to go and swim on a school holiday,” Ciaran’s mother Frances Black said. “There aren’t many I know that want to do that, so I think it’s pretty good.”
Ciaran says he always wants to persevere, despite sometimes developing cramps in his arms and legs toward the end of his sessions in the pool.
“Let’s not give up, let’s finish it,” he said. “People with leukemia don’t give up, so why should I give up?”
Pierson says the treatments she’s been receiving are starting to show benefits.
“I received a stem cell transplant July 21st and I’m doing good now,” Pierson said. “It’s just going to be about another two years of treatment and then hopefully I won’t have cancer anymore.”
Ciaran is planning on swimming the final kilometer of his fundraising swim on Thursday, Aug. 31.
“It helps those with cancer,” he said. “We want to find treatment.”
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