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

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

Police escorts for Victoria bylaw workers entering encampments in parks will continue for this month, after council approved a $25,000 budget request from VicPD. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria bylaw staff encampment work to include police escort through April

Taxpayers to see modest increase in property taxes for 2021

Victoria’s bylaw restricting businesses from providing most plastic checkout bags came into effect on April 15. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
Victoria’s bylaw banning plastic bags back in effect

The bylaw restricts businesses from providing most plastic checkout bags, charges for alternatives

Pacific Institution in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media file photo)
Inmate with ties to Victoria dies in Abbotsford institution

Brodie Bingley, who was sentenced for aggravated assault in Maple Ridge died April 13

This property, at 1980 Fairfield Place, is adjoined to Gonzales Hill Park and is the centre of community opposition and a B.C. Supreme Court case as owners are looking to build a single-family home on the lot. Jake Romphf/News Staff
Home construction near Victoria’s Gonzales Hill Park spurs legal battle

Gonzales Hill Preservation Society worried about impacts to the park’s wildlife, rare fauna, views

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you have a plan in place in the event of a tsunami?

Tsunamis have claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people between 1998… 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 April 13

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

The District of Sooke will continue to flower with Communities in Bloom. (Pixabay)
Sooke will bud but not bloom in provincial competition

Council scales back participation in Communities in Bloom

An armed officer walks outside Cerwydden Care on Cowichan Lake Road near Skinner Road Wednesday, April 14 around 5:30 p.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Police standoff at Duncan apartment ends peacefully

Officers surround building as homeowner held in apartment for nearly four hours by adult son

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Hwy. 4 was shut down in both directions for 10 hours on March 23 as a rock bluff was blasted as part of Kennedy Hill’s ongoing construction. Commuters can expect five more 10 hour closures on five consecutive Wednesdays beginning April 28. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Five 10-hour Pacific Rim highway closures planned in the next 6 weeks

Closures needed for rock blasting as part of the Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement project.

Bulldogs forward Stephen Castagna flips the puck into the Clippers zone during a game on Oct. 24. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Island BCHL game postponed due to ‘potential positive’ COVID-19 test

Nanaimo Clippers team suspends activities, players isolating pending further test results

Most Read