I am organizing this fundraiser for Pat Caden and his family in hope of raising enough money to allow for Pat to receive stem cell treatment to slow and / or reverse the effects of his ALS diagnosis. Pat has researched this treatment and has spoken to a man in Edmonton that has received the treatment. The results have been very positive and promising. This treatment is done at a hospital in Germany and it is very expensive thus our lofty fundraising goal of $100,000. We believe that with Pat’s strength and determination, along with your financial support, and the positive outlook on stem cell treatment for ALS, Pat will have a fighting chance against this terrible disease that he has been stricken with. We thank you for your support and would like you to read more about Pat’s story as it is eloquently written below by his sister Rheanna.
Patrick Joseph Caden (aka Pat, Bubba, Sajax, Uncle Dat, Dump Bear). Whether you knew him as a young boy growing up in Smithers, was his comrade during his time in the military, fought forest fires alongside him when he was a Smoke Jumper for the BC Forest Service, laboured with him on those long, cold days and nights when he worked on the oil rigs or diamond drilling, are part of the crew of pipeline boys he considers family and wishes he could be in the ditch with right now, or simply hung out with him when he was home in Prince George, there is one thing that cannot be mistaken - at 42 years old, Pat’s world is dominated by his remarkable work ethic, talent, adventurous spirit, and love for his beautiful daughter.
But in October 2020, Pat’s life was turned upside down and his journey forever changed when he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). ALS is a progressive nervous system disease that impacts nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control. ALS is often called Lou Gehrig's disease, after the baseball player was diagnosed. Eventually, ALS affects the muscles needed to move, speak, eat, and eventually breathe. On average, ALS affects 1 in 50,000 Canadians with a life expectancy of 2 to 5 years after diagnosis. There is no cure for this aggressive, cruel, and fatal illness.
Almost two years ago, Pat’s ALS began in his hands. Hands that throughout his life offered him physical ability, strength, and freedom. This includes when he was a child building forts, participating in Beavers and Cubs, playing hockey with his buddies, and working outside with his mum and dad chopping firewood and completing household projects. In the military, these same hands helped him through grueling and intensive training exercises so he could become a strong and tenacious soldier. It is also these hands that made him an excellent forest fire fighter, an outstanding skilled labourer, and an amazing and protective brother and son who was always there for his sisters and his parents. It is these hands that eagerly offered to help friends and neighbours while he proudly renovated his own home and assisted at the family lake property. But for Pat, what means the most to him, is that it is his hands that let him hold his baby girl, play with her, pack her around tirelessly when she was little, and drive her happily through Tim Horton’s so she could get her favourite treat before they would go visit grandma or auntie nana. Sadly, Pat has lost all ability to use his hands and arms. This is difficult for him, his family, and his friends to accept, but he perseveres with his infectious sense of humour and remarkable resiliency in the face of such tragic adversity.
Pat is not naive to the predictions of his fate - he feels the weakness growing in his legs and he knows the internal strength and positive attitude he must embrace as he embarks on the toughest training exercise he will ever encounter. His gratitude for his abundant childhood, his time in the military, his career opportunities, the parts of the world he has travelled, all the people he has known throughout the years, and his adored daughter, her mom, aunties, cousins, and grandparents his daughter will always have, make him feel so lucky for life and the beautiful things it brings. ALS reminds Pat to never take physical ability for granted, the importance of family and friends, and how quickly, without any explanation or warning, our time on earth can be interrupted.
One may never really have the opportunity to know if, or how, we may have impacted someone’s life in a positive way, but for Pat the lives are many and the memories are irreplaceable. This fundraising effort will support Pat’s fight for the next-stage of life as he pursues alternative treatment options to prolong, and potentially reverse, the impact ALS is having on his body. This includes stem cell therapy and other non-conventional treatment opportunities for ALS survivors. Pat would like to donate the proceeds of any leftover funds to the Royal Canadian Legion to assist veterans suffering from severe and prolonged mental or physical illness.
Soldier on, Bubba. We love you and are so proud.
- Jeremy & Susan Gessleman
- Gus Gregg
Organizer and beneficiary
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