North Saanich’s Jack Coles, here seen laying the wreath for the Navy League Cadet Corps during Remembrance Day, won two awards during the local Navy League Cadet Corps annual ceremonial review. (Courtesy Rachel Moss)

North Saanich’s Jack Coles, here seen laying the wreath for the Navy League Cadet Corps during Remembrance Day, won two awards during the local Navy League Cadet Corps annual ceremonial review. (Courtesy Rachel Moss)

Central Saanich navy cadet overcomes odds, sails to top of class

Xander Moss, 11, had two brain surgeries before turning one

A stroke-like trauma in utero and two brain surgeries before turning one are among the telling details in the medical history of Xander Moss.

The Central Saanich youngster, who turns 12 in July, endured the surgeries in response to a rare condition – one to two per 1,000 newborns are diagnosed – called hydrocephalus. Also called water on the brain, the condition is a build up of cerebrospinal fluid causing pressure, potentially leading to brain damage and death.

For Xander, discovery while still in utero allowed doctors to treat it before the pressure became too great. The surgeries led neurosurgeons to discover the stroke-like trauma, which probably happened in utero and may have caused the hydrocephalus.

None of the lingering effects have stopped Xander from challenging himself and helping others along way, as recently recognized by the Navy League Cadet Corps (NLCC) Admiral Martin, based in North Saanich.

Xander was named top cadet for Vancouver Island with the Division Cadet of the Year award during the annual ceremonial review held June 16 over Zoom. Xander, who holds the rank of Petty Officer First Class, received a Navy League Cadet Medal of Excellence award that served as a nomination for the Cadet of the Year. He also earned the Commanding Officer’s Shield and the Perfect Attendance Award.

“I’m really proud of my awards, and that this was the best year ever,” said Moss in a phone interview with the Peninsula News Review.

During the annual review Chief Petty Officer Second Class Jack Coles of North Saanich won the Division President’s Award and the Commanding Officer’s Award, while Petty Officer Second Class Pyper Mae Johnson of Central Saanich was promoted to Petty Officer First Class and earned the corps award for Best Cadet.

“I’m very happy to receive these two awards, they are a great honour, and I look forward to leading the cadet corps again next year,” Coles said.

“I value the opportunity to have these experiences with my fellow cadets,” Johnson said. “I like that I am helping my community while having fun. It’s important to remember our veterans and what makes Canada the beautiful country it is.”

RELATED: Mega bottle drive and barbecue supports cadets and veterans

RELATED: Peninsula sea cadets put frigate to the test

Not surprisingly, Xander’s mother Rachel Moss was bursting with pride.

“We are certainly very proud of him. He has come a long way and we credit the cadet program with a lot of his personal growth in the last few years.”

She credits the cadet experience with helping Xander in other ways as well.

Due to his condition, Xander’s gross and fine motor skill development has been challenged. He has worn glasses since he was two because of nystagmus, or shaking in his eyes.

“While Xander still struggles with some fine motor skills such as writing, his gross motor skills have improved immensely since he joined the program,” Rachel said.

She added that Xander has neither required physiotherapy nor occupational therapy since 2018 and his participation in range has helped reduce the nystagmus in his eyes.

Xander has also proven himself as a teacher for junior cadets and looks forward to his next challenge, once he joins the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets next year.

“I’m looking forward to learning how to use a boat,” he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Saanich Peninsula

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Pyper Mae Johnson of Central Saanich (left), here seen with fellow cadet Xander Moss, won two awards during the 2020 annual ceremonial review held by local Navy League Cadet Corps. (Courtesy Rachel Moss)

Pyper Mae Johnson of Central Saanich (left), here seen with fellow cadet Xander Moss, won two awards during the 2020 annual ceremonial review held by local Navy League Cadet Corps. (Courtesy Rachel Moss)

Just Posted

Victoria Hospice staff Brianne Ohl, left, Angela Chalmers, right, and Sandi Ogloff, at back, show off their buttons that show a picture of them smiling. Staff has worked hard to maintain the connections with patients despite the barriers of PPE and rigid COVID-19 protocols. (Victoria Hospice Photo)
Hospice provides compassion in a time of COVID

Victoria Hospice 40th anniversary on pause during pandemic

Sidney has moved the remaining parts of its public consultation phase part of the Official Community Plan online. (Black Press Media File)
Sidney moves to an ‘all online engagement’ process for OCP

Staff says OCP charrette scheduled for mid-February

Look for the Random Act of Kindness Day colouring contest in Black Press issues Jan. 17. Physical entries can be mailed or dropped off to local Black Press offices. A scanned or photographed entry can be emailed to info@victoriafoundation.bc.ca. Winning entries can get a $50 gift card to Bolen Books and a $100 donation to a charity of their choice from the VIctoria Foundation. (Pixabay)
Colouring contest coming for Kindness Day

Kindness Day colouring contest in partnership with Victoria Foundation

(File photo)
‘Very lucky’: Two passengers, dog escape rollover crash in Saanich unscathed

Vehicle flips on Trans Canada Highway after hitting median, possibly due to ice, firefighter says

The large metal gate stolen from Muddy Valley Farm in rural Saanich on Jan. 18 reappeared less than a week later. (Muddy Valley Farm/Facebook)
Large metal gate stolen from Saanich farm makes mysterious reappearance

12-foot gate returned to Muddy Valley Farm less than a week after it was stolen

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Most Read