Three-year-old Liam Comboye passed away just over one year ago from a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. His family is now honouring him by starting a chapter of a non-profit called the Cure Starts Now in Canada. (Photo courtesy of Cari Comboye)

Three-year-old Liam Comboye passed away just over one year ago from a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. His family is now honouring him by starting a chapter of a non-profit called the Cure Starts Now in Canada. (Photo courtesy of Cari Comboye)

One year later: Family to honour toddler who died of cancer with fundraiser

The Comboye family hopes to raise awareness of rare brain cancer

Just over one year after Mike and Cari Comboye lost their three-year-old son Liam to cancer, the family is ready to rally and make a difference in his honour.

In October 2017, Liam Comboye died from diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) — a rare form of pediatric brain cancer that impacts the brain stem. The cancer is terminal and resistant to treatments like chemotherapy.

“The only thing they have for kids who have it is radiation and that just buys you a little more time,” said Cari Comboye. “With Liam it gave us an extra two months.”

Comboye and her sister took it upon themselves to form a local chapter of the Cure Starts Now, a non-profit organization that was originally started in 2007 in the United States.

READ MORE: Remembering Liam Comboye: Family to set up non-profit for toddler who died of cancer

Upon Liam’s diagnosis, Comboye said she contacted the Cure Starts Now to see what could be done.

“I was like ‘this is just not right for there to be no treatment and you’re told your child is going to die,’” Comboye said.

There are 40 chapters of the Cure Starts Now in the United States, all started by parents who lost a child to DIPG according to Comboye. Many of the parents just wanted to be able to do something to raise awareness about DIPG and fund research to find a cure.

“You can either choose to be angry and miserable or put that energy into something good,” Comboye said.

In June, Comboye was able to find a lawyer and board members and the non-profit is now a registered corporation as well as the first chapter in Canada.

In about one week, they will be holding their first fundraiser in support of DIPG research.

On Dec. 9, the Cure Starts Now will hold a pancake breakfast with Santa and super heroes at the Royal Oak Women’s Institute Hall.

Batman — who visited Liam a few times when he was in hospital — will be there along with other super heroes to read and sing songs with children at the event.

READ MORE: Greater Victoria rallies behind boy battling cancer

Professional photos with Santa and the heroes will also be available.

“We’re hoping to spread awareness about this horrible tumor that took Liam away too early,” Comboye said.

The founders of the Cure Starts Now — Keith and Brook Desserich — will also fly in from Cincinnati, Ohio to show their support for the family and for the first Canadian chapter of the organization.

“Liam is basically the face of Canada’s DIPG warriors now so it’s huge,” Comboye said. “We hope to grow and hopefully chapters will open up under us.”

Comboye said family, friends and community members have come together to support the Comboye’s and honour Liam.

“This is Liam’s legacy,” Comboye said in tears. “He always said he wanted to help people and this is his way of helping people.”

The pancake breakfast fundraiser in honour of Liam Comboye will take place on Dec. 9 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Royal Oak Women’s Institute Hall. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids age five and over and free for kids under five.

Liam’s page for the Cure Starts Now can be found here.

Details about the pancake breakfast can be found here.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Inmates at Metchosin’s William Head Institution are being given COVID-19 vaccines as part of the first phase. Around 600 inmates will be vaccinated in the coming days. (Black Press Media file photo)
William Head inmates in Metchosin receive their first doses of COVID vaccine

Priority set for older inmates and those with underlying medical conditions

West Shore RCMP is looking for a suspect and their minivan, which crashed into a parked vehicle and home along the 200-block of Island Highway in View Royal on Jan. 18. (Black Press Media file photo)
Driver crashes into parked car and home in View Royal, speeds away: RCMP

Incident took place near 200-block of Island Highway Monday night

December and January, so far, have seen their share of rain. (Black Press Media file photo)
Potential for snow in Greater Victoria after unusually wet December, January

Winter is on the way, says Environment and Climate Change Canada

A pinniped was attacked by an unseen predator off the shores of Dallas Road Monday night. (Courtesy of Steffani Cameron)
VIDEO: Seal hunting, not being hunted in video shot off Dallas Road

Victoria woman captures footage of pinniped activity off Dallas Road

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

(Black Press Media file photo)
From arts to environment, nominate your West Shore hero

Nominations for the Goldstream Gazette’s Local Hero awards are open

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

B.C.’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training announced funding to train community mental health workers at four B.C. post-secondary institutions. (Stock photo)
B.C. funding training of mental health workers at four post-secondary institutions

Provincial government says pandemic has intensified need for mental health supports

Most Read