Young tumour survivor to headline Bikers Against Brain Cancer event

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Young Leeland Hill, a brain cancer survivor, is pictured in the hospital in this family handout photo.

CORNWALL, Ontario - Much like any other parent of a young child, Denis Hill can recite, by rote, every milestone her four-year-old son Leeland has achieved.

The difference is Leeland's achievements meant the difference between life and death.

Last year little Leeland was diagnosed with stage-four brain cancer. The situation was so dire that doctors needed to perform a life-saving tumour removal within 24 hours of its discovery.

"They told me the tumour was the size of a tennis ball," she said. "His brain was literally squeezed into a space one-third the size it should have been."

Following the 10-hour surgery Leeland had to endure 52 chemotherapy treatments and 31 rounds of radiation.

The good news is he is now cancer-free - doctors were able to remove all of the tumour despite initially believing they could only get 70 per cent of it.

He experiences some difficulty walking, because a portion of his body was left partially paralyzed following the surgery.

But the alternative, said Hill, was much worse.

"It was scary," she said. "I didn;t really breakdown until after his last day of chemo. That's when it all hit me."

While researching the disease online, Hill came across the annual Bikers Against Brain Cancer event in Cornwall.

The Halifax, N.S. woman got in touch with local organizers, and before long an invitation was extended to her to attend the event, which takes place June 28 at 9 a.m. beginning at St. Andrews Church.

Info on the ride can be found here.

Ride organizers have received funding from Cornwall Police Association, Travel Underwriters to fly Leeland, Hill and her father Roderick McQueen to Cornwall and Nav Centre has provided two roomsfor the visitors.

As well, Hertz Ottawa has provided a rental car free of charge.

"Our hope is to raise over $10,000 in this one-day event where the proceeds will be donated to the Montreal Neurological Institute to be used for the research cost of brain tumors/cancers," said Ray Eady, one of the event organizers.

Over the years Bikers Against Brain Cancer has raised thousands of dollars for brain tumour/cancer research.

The event was created by local chiropractor Paul Poirier, who continues to battle a brain tumour of his own.

Geographic location: Ontario

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