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

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Victoria for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

Shopping in the evening in downtown Victoria can be a good time to go, with relatively few people in store and plenty of room to physically distance, as this photo from Government Street shows. (Don Descoteau/News Staff) 
Shopping in the evening in downtown Victoria can be a good time to go, with relatively few people in store and plenty of room to physically distance, as this photo from Government Street shows. But thanks to a new program from the Downtown Victoria Business Association, many downtown businesses will soon be able to provide free delivery for customers across the region. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Downtown Victoria businesses offered free delivery for regional customers

DVBA launches ‘Downtown Delivers’ program Dec. 7

Victoria police seized drugs, knives, two firearms and ammunition off a man early Nov. 4. (Victoria Police Department)
VicPD makes early morning drug and weapons seizure

Officers seize drugs, knives, two firearms and ammunition

Victoria police seek witnesses after a 17-year-old girl was sexually assaulted on a BC Transit bus. (Black Press Media file photo)
Police seek witnesses after teen sexually assaulted on Victoria bus

Man followed a teen onto a bus from a stop at Douglas and Fort streets

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PHSA bought faulty respirators; spent money on catering, renovations: Dix

Such spending included ‘unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations’ to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan releases his election platform, Vancouver, Oct. 6, 2020, featuring COVID-19 relief payments promised for most households. (B.C. NDP photo)
Next $1.5 billion in B.C. COVID-19 cash ‘prudent,’ Horgan says

New round of payments for household incomes up to $175,000

(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

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Former Kelowna social worker arrested for allegedly stealing from foster kids

Robert Riley Saunders was arrested in Alberta and will be brought back to B.C. to face charges

Lake Trail Middle School in Courtenay has closed again due to a threat Friday (Dec 4). File photo
Island middle school closed for the second time in a week due to threat

On Nov. 26, Lake Trail Middle School was closed for a day while a similar incident occurred.

Melissa David, of Parachutes for Pets and her dogs Hudson and Charlie are trying to raise money for a homeless shelter that will allow pets and are seen in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘My only wish:’ Children asking pet charity to help their furry friends at Christmas

Parachutes for Pets says it has received 14 letters from children in the last week

Most Read