A Chilliwack author is donating partial proceeds from the sale of her new book, S.S. Huber – Rise of the Dragon, to help Ryan ‘Chopper’ Masales battle cancer.
Masales is an Abbotsford police officer and hockey coach who has been fighting aggressive and so-far incurable Glioblastoma Multiforme brain cancer for the past three years. Friends and family are trying desperately to raise enough money to send him to the Ivy Brain Tumor Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
There, he’d have access to a cutting-edge treatment that might save his life, but the cost of trip and treatment is estimated at $200,000.
Glioblastoma Multiforme is the same insidious cancer that claimed the life of Bernadine’s son, Kevin Morris, in 2016.
As her 36 year old son, also a police officer, fought for his life, there was no option beyond conventional treatments – surgery/radiation/chemotherapy – that eventually fell short.
In 13 months from Kevin’s diagnosis to his death, Bernadine and her husband, Ken, left no stone unturned looking for ways to save him.
There was nothing.
“Ryan’s chance to take part in this study may be the breakthrough toward a cure for this devastating disease, and our family remains hopeful that one day these studies and people like Ryan who take part in them will lead the way forward for all of us,” Bernadine says. “So when someone like Ryan has an opportunity like this, I support it. We must never give up support of research.
“It is important to always have hope.”
During Kevin’s fight, hope was in short supply, but there was plenty of anguish.
“Cancer is a deadly scourge in our society. Everyone’s been touched by it and I think we need to work together to do something about it,” Bernadine says, with pain and anger flashing in her eyes. “I am so proud of Ryan for continuing the fight and bravely seeking any avenue so he can spend more time with his family.
“Young or old, no one should have to go through it. It’s not fair but I’m so glad that Ryan has a chance.”
Bernadine has sent a card and a letter to the Masales family, but she hasn’t reached out in person.
“I’m cognizant of the times they are going through and not wanting to intrude,” she says. “It can be hard for people who are ill, because sometimes they just aren’t up to it. If Ryan is not feeling well – I want to respect his space.”
Bernadine wrote the first book in her Song of the Dragon series, S.S. Huber- The Dragon’s Eye Crystal, while her son was in the middle of his fight.
“It was an outlet for me, to write,” she says.
As the names suggest, these are fantasy-genre books, with a unique Chilliwack flair.
While the characters in the Song of the Dragon stories visit several dimensions on their epic journey, Chilliwack is where everything starts.
Sybil Huber’s Grade 8 class takes a field trip to a breathtaking valley nestled between Mount Cheam and Lady Peak.
The real life location of Spoon Lake is the inspiration for much that follows.
“Spoon Lake is just gorgeous, especially if you go in September or October, and it’s a place that Kevin always wanted to go to,” Bernadine says. “When I’m there I always picture him, looking over the valley and walking the beat, still looking after people.”
|Spoon Lake in Thurston Meadow, the real life location inspiring fictional events in two Bernadine Morris novels.|
Sybil is catapulted into a tale that touches on themes of bullying, intolerance and bigotry, which Bernadine believes to be the roots of war and oppression.
The book is aimed at a younger audience.
“I wanted to inspire younger people to read and I thought reading about local things would be a way of doing that,” Bernadine says. “I know of one mother who told me her daughter wasn’t keen about reading, but now she is really enjoying it. The daughter said, ‘It’s my favourite book!’ and that inspires me.
“If I reach one person and they enjoy it, that’s all I need to know.”
If enough people buy a copy of S.S. Huber – Rise of the Dragon, she’ll be even happier knowing she’s helping Masales.
As of Thursday morning, his GoFundMe page showed $172,889 raised toward the target of $200,000.
“Kevin was the type of person who would reach out and help people, and before he left us, he asked all of his family and friends to pay it forward and do a good deed a day,” Bernadine says with a smile. “I’m doing this for him because it’s something he would do.
“It probably won’t be much, but every little bit helps.”
Get more info on Bernadine and her books online at songofthedragon.com.
Both books are available on Amazon.