Peter Short knows what it’s like to be part of the cancer fight.
It takes away your time and energy and makes the day-to-day challenges of life tougher.
Which is why the Maple Ridge resident is helping out another family after going through his own struggle last August, when he lost his six-year-old daughter Kira to cancer.
“It takes a lot out of you, right. Not only the person who the cancer’s affecting, the child – the parents, too,” said Peter.
After organizing the Ride for Kira in September, Peter has been collecting bottles and trucking them down to the Haney Bottle Depot to raise money to help the family of Olivia Gammel, who lives in Coquitlam.
Peter and his daughter, the ‘Warrior Princess,’ met Olivia, who’s about four, when they were both in B.C. Children’s Hospital last summer.
He’s not sure of Olivia’s exact diagnosis, but says she just returned home after going through the same cancer therapy in Boston as his daughter did.
Olivia’s also got a younger brother.
“We just started this in September. This is how we keep Kira’s memory alive and try help out another family. I know first-hand how much it takes out of you, what’s involved. It’s draining on a family,” Peter said.
Proceeds from the Ride for Kira in August, along with the money raised from collecting empty bottles will add up to about $2,000, which he’ll present to Olivia’s dad just before Christmas.
Peter doubts that either of Olivia’s parents are working right now.
Next year, the Ride for Kira and the bottle drive will help out another family.
Peter said he’s back to work now and his four-year-old son Jayden is doing OK.
“One day at a time. My son, he’s doing pretty good. Obviously, we deeply miss Kira and Christmas is going to be difficult. Her birthday was really hard. I figure all the firsts will be really difficult.”
But the support from family, friends and the community helps a lot.
“Without that, it would be a completely different.”
He tries to keep his son busy.
“It doesn’t change the fact that he’s still lost his sister.”
Anyone who wants to help out can simply take their empty bottles down to the Haney Bottle Depot, across from Thomas Haney secondary, in clear plastic bags. Then people just have to type in Peter’s phone number and the proceeds will automatically be credited to the Ride for Kira account.