Mackenzie Rigg and Trinity Kettyls at Rigg’s University of Victoria convocation. The 25-year-old Rigg was diagnosed with Astrocytoma Grade 5 brain tumour this summer. On Nov. 20, 50 Vikes athletes will do a relay of 50 laps, each 5.4 kilometres long, for 270 km through Gordon Head. (Courtesy of Trinity Kettyls)
Mackenzie Rigg and Trinity Kettyls at Rigg’s University of Victoria convocation. The 25-year-old Rigg was diagnosed with Astrocytoma Grade 5 brain tumour this summer. On Nov. 20, 50 Vikes athletes will do a relay of 50 laps, each 5.4 kilometres long, for 270 km through Gordon Head. (Courtesy of Trinity Kettyls)

Mackenzie Rigg and Trinity Kettyls at Rigg’s University of Victoria convocation. The 25-year-old Rigg was diagnosed with Astrocytoma Grade 5 brain tumour this summer. On Nov. 20, 50 Vikes athletes will do a relay of 50 laps, each 5.4 kilometres long, for 270 km through Gordon Head. (Courtesy of Trinity Kettyls) Mackenzie Rigg and Trinity Kettyls at Rigg’s University of Victoria convocation. The 25-year-old Rigg was diagnosed with Astrocytoma Grade 5 brain tumour this summer. On Nov. 20, 50 Vikes athletes will do a relay of 50 laps, each 5.4 kilometres long, for 270 km through Gordon Head. (Courtesy of Trinity Kettyls)

Vikes rally support for alum battling brain cancer

Fifty Vikes to run 50 laps in Gordon Head in fundraiser for Mackenzie Rigg

It started in July with a series of headaches so severe that Mackenzie Rigg knew they couldn’t be written off as an intense migraine.

At first, the 25-year-old Victoria resident was sent home from the clinic. But after the third and fourth migraine, the former UVic Vikes soccer player and 2018-19 team captain kept asking for medical help. On a Friday night, he was referred to Victoria General Hospital for a CT scan.

“Sure enough, they found a growth [in my head] the size of a small orange, so it was not great news,” said Rigg, who was with his family in Kelowna. “I literally walked into emergency and checked myself in. I was in VGH for nine days.”

Rigg was diagnosed with Astrocytoma Grade 5. On average, 27 Canadians are diagnosed with a brain tumour each day. It put off his enrolment as a law student at the University of Calgary this fall.

He had two surgeries right away. One was to install a permanent shunt in the back of his head. It releases pressure by draining fluid down to his abdomen. Then he did six weeks of radiation in Vancouver which finished last week, a process that is still weighing on him.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay High head shave lives on through pandemic

“The side effects are a slow build, so the first couple weeks were a total breeze,” Rigg recalled. “As the radiation builds up the side effects come out.”

Rigg can still hang out and go for walks but is limited in the activity that he can do right now. When COVID started, he and his girlfriend Trinity Kettyls, also a Vikes soccer player, were training for an ultramarathon, planning to conquer the 49-kilometre Juan de Fuca Trail in one shot.

Instead, Kettyls has organized a massive 270-kilometre relay – 50 laps of a 5.4 km loop on Nov. 20 in Gordon Head. Fifty current Vikes have committed to running and the accompanying fundraiser for the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada has already hit $46,595.

“It started with a goal of $5,000 then jumped to $10,000 because we reached $5,000 before we launched,” Rigg said. “Then we moved it to $17,000 and then $27,000, so this is the fifth time it’s been bumped.”

The significance of the 270 km relay and the now-surpassed $27,000 goal is to reflect the daily average of Canadians, 27, who are diagnosed with brain tumours.

“This event is aimed to raise awareness for brain cancer, to raise funds for brain tumour research, but most importantly to make Mackenzie feel loved and supported by his Vikes family,” Kettyls said. “He is not fighting this alone. Once a Vike, always a Vike.”

READ MORE: Breakers soccer lead Oak Bay into spring season

The run will be based out of the open field at James Houlihan Park. It will run south on Gordon Head Road towards Mackenzie Avenue and then turn left. It will then turn left again on to Finnerty Road which meets up with Arbutus Road, and loops back onto Gordon Head Road and Houlihan Park.

“We wanted it near UVic because of the first-year players living in residence and who don’t have cars,” Kettyls said. “And James Houlihan Park is a big open field that we can set up for the day and not bother anyone.”

The plan is for Rigg and Kettyls to run the last lap together at the end.

“The goal is now $50,000 because if we hit that then we can name a grant in my name and direct where the funds will go,” Rigg said.

To donate visit Vikes Kick Cancer at braintumour.ca/events/vikes-kick-cancer.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

UVicUVic Vikes

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

Just Posted

On Feb. 27, a construction vehicle remained on the site of the former encampment between the Pat Bay Highway and McKenzie Avenue as part a clean-up effort. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Encampment between Pat Bay Highway, McKenzie Avenue cleared, all residents relocated

Efforts to disband encampment resumed after January fire

Rebecca Lang of Any Thyme Gardening installed a seed exchange library in front of her home on Beechwood Avenue. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Victoria gardeners scramble to create local seed exchanges

Fairfield resident’s seed exchange an instant hit

Sooke resident Nathan Hanson popped both his driver’s side tires on a pothole near a construction site on Sooke Road. Hanson said he was following a line of traffic and was just before the 17 Mile Pub when he drove over the pothole. (Photo contributed/Nathan Hanson)
Driver blows two tires on pothole near construction site on Sooke Road

Ministry of Transportation says keeping highways in good condition a priority

Darcy Rhodes (left) says his grandfather’s bonsai trees are his ‘babies.’ (Courtesy of Tamara Bond)
Passengers in rows 13 to 19 on Air Canada Jazz flight 8069 from Vancouver to Victoria Feb. 28 were exposed to a case of COVID-19. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
COVID-19 exposure found on flight from Vancouver to Victoria

Passengers in rows 13 to 19 on Air Canada Jazz flight 8069 Feb. 28 affected

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Comox Valley RCMP conducted a raid of a problem house on 20th… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Most Read