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

Saanich golfer and top B.C. junior and juvenile player Willy Bishop was named to the 2021 Canadian National Junior Golf Squad on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy Jenny Bishop)
Saanich student to tee-off with national golf team

Willy Bishop, 16, named to Canadian National Junior Golf Squad in 2021

Island Health has reported a COVID-19 outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Four new COVID-19 cases added to Saanich Peninsula Hospital outbreak

Inital round of patient testing is complete, staff testing continues

A rendering of Victoria Wonderland, a drive-thru immersive holiday experience that has been cancelled due to COVID-19. (Courtesy of Transcend Victoria)
Victoria Wonderland drive-thru show cancelled due to COVID-19

Organizers hope to host a similar event, if restrictions allow, in the new year

Swiftsure International Yacht Race 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Popular Swiftsure yacht race cancelled for second consecutive year

International sailing race hopes to run its 77th event in 2022

Andrew McBride is among those who deck out for Sea of Lights floating ship parade annually. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pandemic sinks Royal Victoria Yacht Club’s Sea of Lights

Oak Bay club encourages donations to the charities event supports

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
POLL: Has COVID-19 changed your plans for the holidays?

The lights are going up, the stacks of presents under the tree… Continue reading

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 Dec. 1

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

Watch Messiah at home with the Sooke Philharmonic

Concert available to stream Dec. 12

Emergency crews used a backhoe loader to clear fire debris from the scene of a fire on Wesley Street Thursday as police and firefighters gathered up propane tanks, stoves and fireplaces used by camp residents to heat tents. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
City of Nanaimo dismantles downtown homeless encampment after fire

Four to six tents burned up in Wesley Street fire Thursday, Dec. 3

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

BC Ambulance Services reassures people that the service is well staffed and ready to respond. Photo by Don Bodger
BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’

‘Paramedics are not limited to a geographical area.’ — BCEHS

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Most Read