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Nerf war for cancer

Poburan student celebrates with school-wide fundraiser
1409 NerfKid DR82
Alex Brost, 8, recently completed cancer treatment and will participate in a schoolwide Nerf gun war at Ecole Marie Poburan to raise funds for Kids With Cancer next week. DAN RIEDLHUBER/St. Albert Gazette

A St. Albert student is celebrating his victory over cancer by bringing a Nerf war to his school.

École Marie Poburan students will get to practise some squishy urban warfare Sept. 17 as part of a free school-wide Nerf battle to raise funds for the Kids with Cancer Society.

The battle was the brainwave of the family of Grade 2 student Alexander Brost, who recently finished his last cancer treatment at the Stollery Children’s Hospital.

Staffers at the hospital encourage cancer survivors to celebrate the end of their treatments with a fundraiser for the various charities that helped them along the way, said Brost’s father, Darren.

“He loves Nerf,” Darren said, so the family organized a school-wide Nerf party and fundraiser as a surprise for Brost.

Poburan principal Michelle Baril said students will come into the school’s gym 40 to 50 at a time throughout this Tuesday to let loose with the latest in Nerf weaponry in various games, and will be encouraged to bring donations to the Kids with Cancer Society.

A big fan of Pokémon, Spider-Man, dinosaurs, Brost said he first learned he had cancer while visiting his grandmother up in Grande Prairie just before he started Kindergarten.

It started off as leg pains that Tylenol couldn’t cure, Darren said.

“We thought it was growing pains,” he said, but the doctors soon sent Brost to the hospital for a more detailed diagnosis. On July 8, 2016, the family learned Brost had leukaemia.

Darren said they were devastated at first, as they thought this was a death sentence, but they soon learned that leukaemia could be cured and that nowadays many youths survive it.

It still meant three years of hospital visits and often-harsh medications, some of which caused Brost to temporarily lose his hair. Baril said the school helped him catch up for missed class time, and apart from the treatments he had an ordinary student life learning to read and write.

Brost’s last treatment was on Sept. 3, which was also his first day of Grade 2.

“He’s excited to get his energy back,” Darren said, and interested in getting back into physical activity.

It’s still a stressful time for him and his wife as parents, as this is when Brost’s cancer could re-emerge if the chemotherapy missed some of it.

“It’s just kind of a waiting game for us, but for the kids it’s hopefully back to a new normal,” Darren said.

Darren, who was a frequent target of his son’s foam projectiles, said the family hopes to raise about $1,000 through this event.

Brost said he isn’t sure how well he’ll do in Tuesday’s Nerf battle, but plans to find some hard cover and pop out to take shots when he can.

His message to other kids with cancer was simple: “It does get easier.”

Questions on the Nerf event should go to Baril at 780-458-1112.

Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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