It’s not every day that a birthday party begins with a fly-by courtesy Comox 19 Wing 442 Squadron.
April 28, 2020 was not just any birthday party.
It was Chase Petersen’s – and what a birthday it was.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place, Chase couldn’t have the kind of birthday most eight-year-olds get. His was better.
Family friends Ryan Williams and Andrea Martin planned a drive-by parade for Chase, and being that April 28 is also National Superhero Day, the theme was a no-brainer.
Superheroes, both real and fictional, showed up in droves.
The parade started with a fly-by, featuring both the CH-149 Cormorant helicopter and the CC-115 Buffalo airplane.
From there, the RCMP, and Comox Fire Rescue, led a stream of close to 100 vehicles, as friends, family members and teachers from Chase’s school – Brooklyn Elementary – drove past a tent that had been set up, giving the guest of honour a front-row, curbside seat.
Many of the well-wishers drove past in costumes.
Chase’s older sister, Quinn, and younger brother Koa, were also on hand.
The parade lasted nearly 15 minutes, giving Chase a birthday present he’s not soon to forget.
It was a happy morning for the youngster, whose life took a dramatic turn during a family holiday in Mexico this past February.
“We were in Mexico, and Chase definitely wasn’t himself,” said his mother, Erin. “We took him to hospital and he was diagnosed with [leukemia]. We had to get an emergency flight back to Vancouver to start treatment right away. Now half of our family is living in Vancouver part-time – one parent is always in Comox, and one parent is always in Vancouver.”
Chase will be a patient at BC Children’s Hospital for the next three years. His treatment includes “very intense chemotherapy treatments” to combat acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
For one day, at least, all his troubles were set aside.
“It was pretty amazing to see,” said Williams, at the conclusion of the parade. “To see the Cormorant, and the Buffalo, then to have the amount of fire trucks and police cars… and it seemed like the whole neighbourhood came to wish him a happy birthday.”
Happy birthday, Chase Petersen.
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