Sailor Ex­tror­di­naire

RCN News - - Contents -

From the mo­ment 10-year-old Liam El­der set foot in HMCS Cal­gary on March 6, 2015, he made quite an im­pres­sion. He was wear­ing naval com­bat dress with the rank of an Or­di­nary Sea­man; how­ever, his naval knowl­edge was so im­pres­sive that he was im­me­di­ately pro­moted to Lead­ing Sea­man and pre­sented with his Bosn’s Call (whis­tle).

Liam was able to tour parts of the ship along with his par­ents and nine-year-old brother Ben­jamin, watch a demon­stra­tion of the 57mm gun, and view a naval board­ing party dis­play. He was also made an honorary mem­ber of the ship’s dive team. Since he dis­played such great skills as a sailor, the crew pro­moted him through the ranks so quickly that he was pro­moted to the rank of Com­man­der and ap­pointed as the Honorary Cap­tain of HMCS Cal­gary.

Liam is an amaz­ing kid who has had a very dif­fi­cult child­hood. He was di­ag­nosed with a rare form of leukemia in March 2011 at the age of six. He un­der­went harsh chemo­ther­a­pies ev­ery three to four weeks, and in be­tween was ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal

many times for bac­te­rial, vi­ral and fun­gal in­fec­tions, pneu­mo­nia and ana­phy­laxis, due to his com­pro­mised im­mune sys­tem. He com­pleted his pro­to­col in late Oc­to­ber 2013 and was com­pletely med­i­ca­tion free for nine months.

Liam re­lapsed in July 2014 with the same type of can­cer and chemo­ther­apy be­gan im­me­di­ately. The plan was to take him to Sick Kids Hos­pi­tal in Toronto for a bone mar­row trans­plant once the can­cer was in re­mis­sion. How­ever, a rare, lifethreat­en­ing fun­gal in­fec­tion was dis­cov­ered in his nose and palate, lead­ing to hav­ing two-thirds of his palate re­moved, as well as the sep­tum in his nose. Fur­ther surg­eries re­moved a tear duct and the si­nus cav­ity be­tween his eyes.

In De­cem­ber 2014, the in­fec­tion spread to Liam’s spine and re­sulted in another surgery that fused and ce­mented parts of his spine. Through­out all of this, Liam re­mained in high spir­its and con­tin­ued his can­cer pro­to­col with the in­tent of mov­ing to­wards bone mar­row trans­plant this spring

Un­for­tu­nately, in Fe­bru­ary, it was dis­cov­ered that the in­fec­tion has spread to Liam’s brain. Doc­tors at the Chil­dren's Hos­pi­tal of Eastern On­tario (CHEO), Toronto Sick Kids Hospi

tal, and other world-renowned hos­pi­tals are try­ing to come up with op­tions to save his life, but with­out treat­ment, Liam has about a month to live.

It has al­ways been Liam’s dream to see the ocean and to board a Royal Cana­dian Navy ship and see the ship­yard as his mother, Chris­tine Harkin, used to serve with the RCN. Dur­ing their brief visit to Vic­to­ria, B.C., Liam’s dream was ful­filled. While on their tour of HMCS Cal­gary, Chris­tine had the chance to re­flect on her time on board a frigate and show­case the life of a sailor to Liam.

He es­pe­cially en­joyed the rigid-hulled in­flat­able boat (RHIB) ride around Esquimalt Har­bour, and was keen to catch a fish for din­ner.

Many mem­bers of CFB Esquimalt, such as the Mil­i­tary Po­lice and fire­fight­ers, also had the priv­i­lege of meet­ing this ex­tra­or­di­nary young man, who un­doubt­edly left a last­ing im­pres­sion on ev­ery­one. His strength and per­se­ver­ance is an in­spi­ra­tion to us all.

Cmdr. Michael Jar­rett, com­mand­ing of­fi­cer of the lit­toral com­bat ship USS Free­dom (LCS 1), gives Vice Adm. Charles W. Ray, com­man­der, U.S. Coast Guard Pa­cific and Royal Cana­dian Navy Rear Adm. Wil­liam Tru­elove,

com­man­der, Mar­itime Forces Pa­cific, a tour of Free­dom's wa­ter­borne mis­sion zone as part of Three-Party Staff Talks (TPST). TPST gives com­man­ders the op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss cur­rent and fu­ture mar­itime oper­a­tions be­tween their forces and 3rd Fleet op­er­a­tional units. Staffs from each com­mand par­tic­i­pated in work­ing groups that fo­cused on mar­itime home­land de­fense and se­cu­rity, com­mand, con­trol, com­mu­ni­ca­tions, com­put­ers and joint ex­er­cises. Joint in­ter­a­gency and in­ter­na­tional re­la­tion­ships strengthen U.S. 3rd Fleet's abil­ity to re­spond to cri­sis and pro­tect the col­lec­tive mar­itime in

ter­ests of the U.S. and its al­lies and part­ners.

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