Nelson brain tumour survivor gives back

Paige Purcell was the first child to use the Kootenay Lake Hospital CAT scan

Paige Purcell had been sick for months, and her mother Andrea couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Only after a CAT scan at Kootenay Lake Hospital did they learn the truth, nearly five years ago — she had a brain tumour.

“They found a very large tumour growing out of Paige’s cerebellum and crushing her brain stem. Right away they airlifted her for emergency surgery,” Andrea told the Star.

“She was the first child to use the CAT scan at Kootenay Lake Hospital, and it saved her life. I always make sure to thank the people who raised money for it, because without that CAT scan I wouldn’t have my child.”

Thanks to the work of neurosurgeon Dr. Paul Steinbock and the nurses at the hospital, Paige ultimately made a full recovery following surgery and these days is a busy, charity-minded eight-year-old who amazes her mother every day.

She wants to give back.

“When Paige was four, for her birthday, I suggested that instead of presents we should donate some money — and she did it. And then the following spring she saw some empties, and told me, ‘We need to raise more money for Dr. Steinbock.’”

Thus begun Paige’s multi-faceted mission to raise money for her community, holding two Facebook auctions for Nelson Friends of the Family, working for B.C. Children’s Hospital’s Child Run, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She even donated her hair for another child patient to have a wig.

So far she’s raised over $30,000.

“Paige knows lots of different kids, some with leukemia, so we meet kids like that and she says she understands how lucky she is. She’s really inspired me, and shown me that it’s possible to make a difference.”