Community rallies around Victoria teen

Justin Plunkett’s bucket list contains ‘whatever he wants to do today’

It’s just a short stay, but for the Plunkett family, three days in Disneyland represents some fun time away together – and one item checked off son Justin’s bucket list.

These days, the 17 year old makes frequent trips to B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, and Justin’s sisters have been missing him, said a close family member, Andrea Rempel.

Just two months ago, life was normal for Justin. He was working to catch up with his graduating class, after losing a year of school to cancer treatment.

On Oct. 29, all his plans changed.

He got the news his brain cancer had returned. He was initially diagnosed on Christmas Eve in 2010. After 30 sessions of radiation and nine months of chemotherapy, Justin was declared cancer-free in September 2011.

This time around, it’s not treatable. The goal is quality of life and comfort and the community has rallied around Justin’s bucket-list campaign.

It’s not a formal list, as such.

“The bucket list is more ‘what do you want to do today?’ and he tells us and we do it,” Rempel said.

“Realistically, at 17, who sits down to take the time to say, ‘before I die I want to do all of this?’”

The day’s activity could be a shopping spree at Foot Locker or a day on the beach with his best friend.

“It’s whatever strikes his fancy,” Rempel said.

Today (Dec. 7) the Burnside Gorge Community Association is hosting a fundraiser to help the family cover the cost of travelling to Vancouver to visit Justin when he is in Vancouver.

While he tires from taking medication, he is generally “really energetic,” Rempel said. “He’s happy-go-lucky and really easy-going and loves life, loves his friends, hanging out with his girlfriend and is really good with his family.”

Last Saturday, his family threw him a big party, themed “LIVING life for Justin.”

“Not sure if there was a dry eye after the awesomesauce Powerpoint presentation,” Justin’s mom, Colleen, wrote on his public Facebook page. “He is such a champ, just over 24 hours before he had been taken by ambulance to the hospital and was discharged hours before the party. He is tired now, but was all smiles last night.”

Take part for the Plunketts

• Burnside Gorge Community centre hosts a fitness fundraiser tonight (Dec. 7) for Justin Plunkett. The class features yoga, dance and pilates and runs from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is by donation. The event is in the Burnside Campus gym, 3130 Jutland Rd. All ages and fitness levels are welcome. Bring your wallet for raffle prizes.

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