Mackenzie Rigg

Mackenzie Rigg was among the seniors to be honoured after their final U Sports soccer game last spring.

Teammates of a Kelowna soccer player who was diagnosed in August with a cancerous brain tumour have launched a campaign to raise awareness and fund research into the disease.

Mackenzie Rigg led Okanagan Mission Secondary to a provincial AA title before moving on to the University of Victoria, where he played five seasons and captained the Vikings soccer team.

He was scheduled to begin law school at the University of Calgary this fall, but in August was diagnosed with Stage IV Astrocytoma, and began radiation treatment in Vancouver shortly thereafter.

According to his Victoria teammates, he has just finished radiation and now has a few months of waiting for the treatment to work before the next step is decided.

The UVic men’s and women’s teams have organized a fundraiser through the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. To date they have raised $46,000.

“We are hoping to get to $50,000, and beyond, to establish a grant in Mackenzie's name that puts funding directly into the study of his condition,’ the Vikes Kick Cancer organizers said in an email.

On Nov. 20-22 the men’s and women’s soccer teams will run a relay totalling 270-kilometres “in support of the 27 Canadians diagnosed with brain tumours every day.”

Rigg and his girlfriend, and fellow Viking, Trinity, will run the final lap together.

People are encouraged to do their own five-kilometre runs, post about it on social media with the hashtag #vikeskickcancer, to be entered for a draw to win various prizes, such as donated gift cards. Details on the fundraiser can be found online at braintumour.ca/events/vikes-kick-cancer/.

“It obviously came as a shock,” Rigg told the Victoria Times Colonist last month of the diagnosis. “It’s a crappy thing. It’s sheer chance and not because of an unhealthy lifestyle. That has helped me embrace it more.”

“It is going to be whatever I make of it. That’s why I am choosing to focus on the incredible, truly amazing, support I have received.”