Jon and Emily van Huigenbos wave at friends and family in a drive-by parade at their home in Chilliwack on April 29, 2020. (MarKay Photography)

Jon and Emily van Huigenbos wave at friends and family in a drive-by parade at their home in Chilliwack on April 29, 2020. (MarKay Photography)

VIDEO: Chilliwack’s firefighting community supporting member through cancer journey

Firefighter now recovering from amputation surgery to remove cancer recurrence

A Chilliwack firefighter with cancer was given a surprise send-off just days before his surgery.

Jon van Huigenbos was heading into hospital for a hemipelvectomy — an amputation of his right leg at the hip. His wife, Emily, wanted to bring him a little cheer to get him through the process, and called on some family to organize a drive-by parade at their home. She had hoped a few family and friends would join in.

“I also had mentioned that a fire truck would be cool too, as Jon was a paid-on-call firefighter for eight years,” Emily writes in a blog detailing Jon’s journey. “Little did I know that the whole Chilliwack Fire Department, which includes five outlining halls, fellow classmates from our children and a handful of people from our church joined our families.”

They counted 130 cars, and 22 fire trucks, including at least one vintage truck. In addition to having video coverage of the event, MarKay Photography was there to document it all for the family. (See photos below)

“It was beyond amazing! Jon was so shocked and moved,” Emily says of whole parade.

The blog, posted on the Caring Bridge website, includes videos from the parade of well wishers, including stirring photographs of the family moved to tears in their yard.

READ MORE: ‘I love you this much’: Chilliwack firefighters share drone video on two-metre physical distancing

In the video, streams of cars slowly drive by, with people honking, waving, standing through their sunroofs, and dropping cards in a plastic bucket alongside the residential road. But that’s not all the love the family has received.

There is a GoFundMe account that is quickly gaining funds that will help the family through Jon’s recovery and rehabilitation, and even the necessary adaptations to the family’s home that will be needed when he gets there. In just a few days, the GoFundMe has gained more than $7,700 for the family. His fellow firefighter Ben Maljaars is managing the account.

“Jon has been a dedicated volunteer firefighter in Chilliwack for almost eight years, rarely missing a call and this surgery will obviously change that career as he knew it,” Maljaars writes. “Jon and his wife Emily have three beautiful children. This surgery will change the dynamic of their family life, and this fundraiser will help ease the burden of these changes. The funds will go into an account that will help with expenses related to this surgery.”

Most importantly, Maljaars adds, is that people pray for Jon, Emily, and their children.

This is Jon’s second time dealing with cancer. Two years ago, he was diagnosed with a form of sarcoma cancer by his sit bone. That required five weeks of radiation and surgery to have the cancer removed. The doctors had felt the treatment was a success, but as a follow up, Jon was given six month scans. At Christmas the scan showed that the cancer had returned, and surgery was required once again. In March, he went to have the tumor removed, but when he was open they found a mass of scar tissue that did not show on scans. That tissue ended up having cancer cells present, which all lead to the decision to amputate.

Now, the amputation has been completed, and Jon is reportedly doing well recovering in hospital.

To help their family or contribute to the GoFundMe account, visit the following pages:

Caring Bridge website

GoFundMe account

READ MORE: Chilliwack and Cultus Lake firefighters to ‘Climb the Wall’ for Connor


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Cancerfirefightersfundraiser

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

 

Several Chilliwack fire halls took part in the parade on April 29, 2020 for Jon van Huigenbos, just days before his cancer surgery. (MarKay Photography)

Several Chilliwack fire halls took part in the parade on April 29, 2020 for Jon van Huigenbos, just days before his cancer surgery. (MarKay Photography)

Several Chilliwack fire halls took part in the parade on April 29, 2020 for Jon van Huigenbos, just days before his cancer surgery. (MarKay Photography)

Several Chilliwack fire halls took part in the parade on April 29, 2020 for Jon van Huigenbos, just days before his cancer surgery. (MarKay Photography)

Jon and Emily van Huigenbos and their three children wave at friends and family in a drive-by parade at their home in Chilliwack on April 29, 2020. (MarKay Photography)

Jon and Emily van Huigenbos and their three children wave at friends and family in a drive-by parade at their home in Chilliwack on April 29, 2020. (MarKay Photography)

Jon and Emily van Huigenbos and their three children wave at friends and family in a drive-by parade at their home in Chilliwack on April 29, 2020. (MarKay Photography)

Jon and Emily van Huigenbos and their three children wave at friends and family in a drive-by parade at their home in Chilliwack on April 29, 2020. (MarKay Photography)

Several Chilliwack fire halls took part in the parade on April 29, 2020 for Jon van Huigenbos, just days before his cancer surgery. (MarKay Photography)

Several Chilliwack fire halls took part in the parade on April 29, 2020 for Jon van Huigenbos, just days before his cancer surgery. (MarKay Photography)

Just Posted

Sam Darkoh in his music video ‘Ruby Fever’ which was shot in Yarrow. (Sterling Gold Production)
VIDEO: Yarrow, Chilliwack backdrop for professionally shot music video of Aldergrove rapper

Lots of hospitality, kind people while filming Ruby Fever, says hip-hop artist Sam Darkoh

Brian VanGarderen is one of four candidates running in the Chilliwack School Board byelection on Feb. 13, 2021. (Submitted photo)
VIDEO: Chilliwack byelection candidate would like to see district-wide connections

Brian Vangarderen hopes Chilliwack school board will focus on policy making and positive connections

Chilliwack is expected to be among the province’s hottest real estate markets in 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
Chilliwack housing market projected to be among B.C.’s hottest in 2021

B.C. Real Estate Association projects Chilliwack and District to grow by 17.1 per cent

Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon. (Submitted)
Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon funding equity and social change scholarships

One of the scholarships is open to any graduating student in the Chilliwack-Kent electoral district

Eva Pucci Couture in this file shot from May 29, 2019, when she came to Chilliwack asking for the public’s help in locating her missing son, Kristofer Shawn Couture. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Missing man’s mom still hopeful, 2 years after his car was found abandoned at Chilliwack trail

‘I wish someone would come forward with insight into your whereabouts,’ pleads mom of missing man

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Langley activist Dorscie Paterson celebrated her 108th birthday on Monday, Jan. 25 at the Cedar Hill long term care facility. Because of the pandemic, she remained inside, able to see, but not shake hands with visitors. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Celebrating a 108th birthday without physical contact

Pandemic required Langley woman to stay behind a window

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Five big lessons experts say Canada should learn from COVID-19:

‘What should be done to reduce the harms the next time a virus arises?’ Disease control experts answer

A Vancouver Police Department patch is seen on an officer’s uniform as she makes a phone call. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver man calls 911 to report his own stabbing, leading to arrest: police

Officers located the suspect a few blocks away. He was holding a bloody knife.

Vernon has agreed to a goose cull to control the over-populated invasive species making a muck of area parks and beaches. (Morning Star file photo)
Okanagan city pulls the trigger on goose cull

City asking neighbours to also help control over-population of geese

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

Ben Tyler was working on a Nicola area ranch when he disappeared. File photo
Ben Tyler was working on a Nicola area ranch when he disappeared. File photo
2 years after his riderless horse was found, police believe Merritt cowboy was killed

Two years after he went missing, Ben Tyner’s family makes video plea for information

Most Read