Imagine being 15 years old, and diagnosed with cancer. That’s exactly what happened to a boy from Welland.
But instead of getting sad, and shutting down, he embraced the challenge with a smile and is now an inspiration for other kids with cancer.
Karter Ellis was a normal 15 year old boy.
“Around Christmas time I was getting blurred vision, everything was just going blurry.”
In February, doctors found a brain tumor.
“It’s called a germanoma, germ cell tumor. 3-5% of pediatric brain tumors.” said Dr. Fleming.
But Carter wasn’t going to let this rare form of cancer slow him down.
“Through chemo I did really well, and I just pushed through this and always had a smile on my face.”
It wasn’t easy. He says chemotherapy and radiation really drained him of energy, but whenever he could. He designed inspirational t-shirts with clever cancer fighting slogans.
“It helps and it makes you smile when you read the shirt, and it helps when you walk around. Normally people say oh he’s sick and sad, but when you’re in a shirt people smile and are happy and say good job.”
He used over $700 of his own money to make the first batch of 50 shirts and then gave them all to other kids battling cancer at the McMaster Children’s Hospital.
“I think the fact that he could do this during his treatment probably helped keep him going, give him positive energy, and he saw the good he could do in other people and feed back in his own fun.” said Dr. Fleming.
He launched Facebook and gofundme pages called Karters Smile Crusade, hoping to raise enough money to keep making the t-shirts.
“My goal is for all the kids who have been on the journey I have to have a smile on their face and a t-shirt.”
So far Karter has raised enough money to donate 300 shirts, and 200 gift bags all with a smile.