Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Ryan Veldkamp is a true champion

  • Print

"Mom, am I going to die?"

When Carla Veldkamp shared with me what her son Ryan said to her as he was waiting to go to hospital, it immediately put brought tears to my eyes.  

When Ryan was playing football for the Nomads when he was 11 years old, strange things began happening to him. His chin strap would leave a bruise; he would get out of breath just walking to school. Soon after these indications mom Carla and dad Albert took Ryan to the hospital.

After a number of tests, Ryan was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on Nov. 5, 2008. For the next five years Ryan battled the cancer in his body.

"During that five-year-stretch I felt I was at war," says Ryan. The battery of treatments and tests Ryan endured is beyond remarkable.  

"(It was) the scariest thing I could have ever gone through, but it made me stronger.  If I didn’t go through what I went through, I wouldn’t be who I am today."

Feb. 4, 2012 was the day Ryan took his last handful of "chemo pills".  

This year, 17 years old and going into Grade 11, Ryan resumed playing football, now on the offensive line for the St. John’s Tigers high school team.  

"In September of Grade 10 a lot of my friends were playing. I decided I was going to workout, get in shape, and be ready for the next year."  

Ryan, along with his mom, dad, and older brother Wesley, spends a lot of time participating in and helping out with events raising funds and awareness for cancer-related programs.

Earlier this month, Ryan was named the 2013-2014 Champion Child by the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba. Over the next year, he will share his story and help to inspire thousands.

"I am very excited and feel very privileged to be able to do all the stuff I am doing," says Ryan.   

In the future Ryan wants to become a chef or photographer, and also wants to dedicate much of his time with kids who are battling cancer to "try and help them get through it."

Thank you, Ryan. You are an inspiration to us all.   

Former Winnipeg Blue Bombers kicker Troy Westwood is co-host of The Big Show, every weekday morning from 6 to 10 a.m. on TSN 1290 radio. He writes about Winnipeg’s unsung sports heroes every other week in the Canstar Community News weeklies.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Fall Arts Guide

We preview what’s new and what’s coming up in Winnipeg’s new arts season

View our Fall Arts Guide

Readers' Choice Awards

Best Of Winnipeg Readers Survey

See the results of the 2014 Canstar Community News Best of Winnipeg Readers' Survey.

View Results

This Just In Twitter bird

Poll

Do you agree with the Winnipeg School Division’s decision to ban e-cigarettes?

View Results