The Calgary hockey community supports Skate the Lake fundraiser and remembers Jordan Feradi
By Folasade Babtunde
Jordan Feradi's story and legacy began on the ice, a place where he and his teammates would enjoy each other's company through the game of hockey. Eight year-old Jordan Feradi was known as a friendly and caring boy who, above all else, was crazy about sports. Playing for the Calgary Bow Valley Flames, Jordan was known as a fierce competitor on the ice; although he, and in-turn his family, were also battling brain cancer off the ice.
In February 2012, the Feradi family received news that Jordan had been diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) - an aggressive form of brain cancer in children. During his 8-month battle, Jordan stayed positive and fought with one goal in mind - to win.
While finding different ways to overcome the cancer, the Feradis began with chemotherapy, among other treatments. Some treatments reduced the size of the tumor, but others had little to no effect - leaving the family searching for more accurate procedures.
The Feradis travelled to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and [he] became one of the first children to receive treatment through a surgical technique known as convection enhanced delivery, a targeted therapy that bypasses the blood-brain barrier and delivers a radioactive monoclonal antibody directly to the tumor within the brainstem (ccbcf.org).
Although the procedure was deemed successful, it was not timely enough to halt the aggressive onset of the tumor. About one month later, Jordan passed away at the tender age of eight.
Despite the heartbreak of his passing, Jordan's contribution to finding a cure for DIPG continued. According to the Canadian Children's Brain Cancer Foundationwebpage (ccbcf.org), "His tumor tissue helped researchers at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children shed new light on the genetic drivers for DIPG. The results from the study showed the distinctions between adult and pediatric brain cancers, which will impact how new drugs to treat DIPG are developed."
Jordan's legacy continues on today with the aforementioned Canadian Children's Brain Cancer Foundation (CCBCF) - an organization founded by Jordan's parents, John and Shawna Feradi.
During Jordan's battle, the Feradis said they experienced a lack of resources in Canada and were motivated to raise awareness, as well as finances, for childhood cancer research. According to the CCBCF website, research for pediatric brain cancer is grossly underfunded, as big pharma funds nearly 60% of all drug development, while just above zero-percent of all product specifically targets pediatric cancers.
In turn, research for conditions such as Jordan's are heavily reliant on donations from private foundations. In their efforts to improve the status of pediatric brain cancer, the CCBCF has raised awareness and made considerable donations towards medical research.
On January 24, 2016, the CCBCF launched its first awareness event and fundraiser; Skate The Lake, which was met with great success. The hockey community came together on Jordan's behalf, and it was a truly humbling experience for the Feradi family.
During Skate The Lake, the CCBCF played host to more than 300 attendees, and successfully raised over $30,000 for pediatric brain cancer research. With such an incredible turn out, it comes as no surprise that Skate The Lake will return in 2017.
On January 22, 2017, you can join the CCBCF at Mackenzie Lake to Skate The Lake and help raise funds to support pediatric brain cancer research. Together with John and Shawna, we can support those who are currently battling, or may have to battle brain cancer some day.
"He went through quite a time and we're trying to prevent that from happening to other kids," said John Feradi.