Eaden Vokey wants nothing more than to be out on the calm, cool waters of Greater Victoria with a fishing rod in his hand.
That’s why the 16-year-old, who lives in Metchosin and attends Royal Bay Secondary School, used his wish with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to get his own fishing boat.
Vokey was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) in late 2017 after his energy levels plummeted – to the point where he could barely climb the stairs at school.
His diagnosis was terrifying – ALL can be fatal within months if left untreated.
Immediate action was necessary. Due to his plummeting platelet counts, Eaden needed an immediate blood transfusion and had to go to the BC Children’s Hospital for quick treatments.
“He needed several litres of blood, right then and there, he was that close to the edge,” recalled his mom, Teresa Vokey. “I had no sense of how long we would be in Vancouver for. A day? Two days?”
|Eaden Vokey wished for his very own fishing boat, and Make-A-Wish BC & Yukon granted it. (Courtesy of Make-A-Wish BC & Yukon)|
It turned out to be a couple months. Eaden and his mom were given space at the Ronald McDonald House during his treatments, which left him immunocompromised so he couldn’t be around too many people or in enclosed spaces.
That’s why fishing became the ideal past time for the teen. Even though he’d started fishing a few summers earlier, his time on the water took on a new meaning after his diagnosis.
With a friend or two, his fishing line bobbing below the surface of Langford or Elk Lake, Eaden had a chance to feel like a normal teen – without putting his health at risk.
“It’s one of the things he used to do that he still can do,” Vokey said.
And his love for fishing continued to grow.
When his case was referred to the Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon, Eaden’s first thought was a fishing trip, but soon he was dreaming of owning his very own fishing boat.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation doesn’t grant wishes for motorized vehicles, but fishing boats don’t require motors.
After weeks of research, Eaden picked his boat – one with a comfortable seat and a canopy to protect him from the sun.
Monti’s Marine & Motor Sports Ltd., based in Duncan, partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and provided Eaden with his brand new boat.
Eaden went fishing the next day.
“We can’t say thank you enough,” said Vokey. “This boat for sure won’t be gathering dust. Eaden knows he could have taken a fantastic fishing trip somewhere as a wish, but Eaden’s going to have this boat, every day. It’s just perfect for him.”
Vokey said the family is looking into adding an electric motor.
Eaden is still undergoing ‘maintenance treatment’ which includes oral chemotherapy, while he works on completing his Grade 10 curriculum.
He hopes for sunny, warm weather over spring break, so he can spend the whole week out on the water in his brand new boat.