(Contributed)                                Peter Short and daughter Kira and son Jayden from December 2016.

(Contributed) Peter Short and daughter Kira and son Jayden from December 2016.

Keeping on with the fight against cancer for Kira

Maple Ridge dad still raising money to help others

It’s been a year since cancer claimed Peter Short’s daughter Kira.

While Peter lost his six-year-old daughter last August, he hasn’t given up on the fight against cancer and is continuing to raise money and provide emotional support for other families going through the same experience.

A few years ago, when Kira was sick and Peter was off work caring for her and taking her for cancer treatments, a friend started collecting empty bottles and cans to help with the bills. He then took it over and kept it going after his daughter died.

“It seemed like a waste to hang it up and not help somebody,” Peter said.

“It makes me feel like Kira is still with me. It’s almost, like, therapeutic.”

Last year, he directed the proceeds to help the family of Olivia Gammel, a four-year-old girl who’s also fighting cancer. Peter met Olivia’s dad when they were both at B.C. Children’s Hospital.

Proceeds from the first annual Ride for Kira, led by Penny Martin, last year, also went to the family. In all, about $1,700 was raised for the Burnaby family. The latest Peter has heard about Olivia is that she’s in remission.

This year, Peter decided to help out six-year-old Mitch Head and his family, who Kira knew from B.C. Children’s Hospital. Mitch is fighting leukemia.

This year’s Ride for Kira took place the Sunday before the Aug. 15 anniversary of Kira’s death. The Christian Motorcycle Association joined in on this year’s ride, which included cars, and which went from Maple Ridge to Harrison Hot Springs and back.

Friends and businesses all help out in the fundraising.

If anyone wants to donate the proceeds of their own empty bottle and can refunds, they can take their collection to the Haney Bottle Depot on Lougheed Highway, near Thomas Haney secondary, and give the clerk account number 881.

That will ensure the refund is donated to the fundraising efforts.

At Samz Neighbourhood Pub in Pitt Meadows, people only have to write the word “Kira” on the back of their bill and a portion of that will be donated, as well.

Radd Designated Drivers, a business that functions similar to Operation Red Nose, also contributes.

Peter said the first year has been tough, particularly when it comes to facing the anniversary of various milestones without his daughter.

“Days are getting better, but you never really get over it. She’s your baby.”

This month was particularly hard for the entire family, but that’s to be expected, he added.

He keeps busy, and is on the road and has two jobs, though the grief returns in waves.

He said he might slow down a bit, but he’ll keep on with the fundraising.

“I look in my rear-view mirror and I see Kira’s face – right – and it just makes me feel good.”