In June 2017, Sooke resident Landen Alexa was diagnosed with Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (SJIA), a disease that causes his body to attack itself, leaving him with crippling muscle and joint pain and with virtually no immune system. (Kendra Wong/Black Press)

Sooke steps up to help sick boy

Upcoming events include a candy sale, a benefit concert, a family carnival and a dance

  • Feb. 8, 2018 12:00 a.m.

The Sooke community is going above and beyond to support Landen Alexa, a local child struggling with a rare form of arthritis.

“I kind of had to take a step back with fundraising because of how busy I’ve been with school and Landen,” said Jillian Lanthier, Landen’s mother. “So to see the community come together to help us like this, I am speechless. I love Sooke as a community, and I have no plans of ever leaving.”

Love for Landen Day is planned for Feb. 10 in Sooke and candy bags will be sold outside Shoppers Drug Mart, Village Foods and at several other Sooke businesses for $2 each to raise money for Landen.

Another event coming up is a Boz Roz–Remember John Lennon benefit concert on Feb. 16 starting at 8 p.m. at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Sooke. Tickets cost $20 and will be available at the door the night of the show; all proceeds will go to Landen.

RELATED: Six-year-old Sooke boy needs $19,000 a month to treat rare form of arthritis

Last June, Landen was diagnosed with systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis , or SJIA, a disease that causes his body to attack itself, leaving him with crippling muscle and joint pain and with virtually no immune system.

Landen’s medicine is no longer working effectively, and the only option for treatment Ilarus, a drug that costs $19,000 a month, and is not covered by B.C. Pharmacare.

Lanthier, said since being denied help with payments from the government, she is first aiming to try and raise $57,000, enough for three months of treatment.

So far, through a Go Fund Me page, Lanthier has raised more than $15,000.

One of the biggest upcoming fundraisers planned is a family carnival and concert on March 3 at the Sooke Community Hall. The carnival, which will include a D.J., games, bouncy castles, a magician and a photo booth, runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is by donation.

The adult concert and dance, featuring the band SuperSauce, will begin at 8:30. Tickets can be bought in advance at Stick in the Mud Coffeehouse or at Shoppers Drug Mart for $10, or for $15 at the door.

Marg Ayres, organizer of the event, said she was amazed and very thankful for how much Sooke has already contributed towards the event.

“We are looking forward to coming out and meeting people at the events, and thanking people for what they’ve done for us,” said Lanthier.

Axe and Barrel and Mr. Mikes in Langford are both planning on hosting “beer and burger” nights to raise money, and there is also an ongoing bottle drive happening for Landen. Bottles can be donated at the Sooke Bottle Depot.

“They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I seriously have that right now. That village for me is Sooke, and I don’t know how to express how grateful I am,” Lanthier said.

To donate to the event on March 3, contact Marg Ayres at marg@timayres.ca.

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