Young firefighter hopeful helps raise funds for SickKids


Liam Cuttle, 4, poses in his firefighter gear. Photo courtesy of The Fighting 4 Liam Brigade Facebook page.


Aspiring firefighter Liam Cuttle has brought the Oakville community together to raise money for SickKids Hospital.

Liam, 4, was diagnosed with Stage IV High Risk Neuroblastoma two-and-a-half months before his fourth birthday in August.

Neuroblastoma is the most common type of cancer in infants and is a disease in which a solid tumour is formed by nerve cells called neuroblasts.

“He has been given a 50 to 60 per cent chance of beating it, but we are going for 100 per cent,” said his father, Andrew Cuttle. “Liam has been responding extremely well to his treatment. In fact he has had better than expected results so far.”

Since then, the Cuttle family has been fundraising for cancer research, calling themselves The Fighting for Liam Brigade.

“When your child is diagnosed with cancer, you lose all the control you had over your life,” said Cuttle. “We can’t make this go away, but we can do everything we can to find a cure for kids like him who need it.”

They started with organizing a Monster March in Oakville for the James Fund for Neuroblastoma Research.

The James Fund for Neuroblastoma Research’s annual walk or run coincidentally fell on Liam’s fourth birthday on Oct. 26 and the foundation challenged people to host their own fundraising event to support the cause.

“We were going to plan something for his birthday anyway and so many people wanted to be a part of it,” said Cuttle. “Liam had been inundated with gifts too, so he certainly didn’t need any more presents. We decided to channel the desire to support us into something that could help find a cure instead.”

An estimated 200 people attended the event and raised more than $11,000. Liam’s Brigade was the top fundraising team, winning a pair of autographed Nike “Run Forrest, Run” shoes signed by Tom Hanks.

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Liam’s mom, Heather Anderson holds the Nike “Run, Forrest Run” shoes as Liam’s dad, Andrew Cuttle and sister, Skylar Cuttle look on at the Live Aid Concert. Photography by CL Becker Photography.

It was there that Kim O’Driscoll, a teacher at W.H Morden Public School, where Liam was supposed to start junior kindergarten, got in touch with them to help.

O’Driscoll, a teacher for 15 years, ran a Change Club at the Oakville school and works with students to raise funds for neuroblastoma cancer.

She organized a Live Aid concert for Liam at the school, raising money for SickKids and the James Fund for neuroblastoma.

“At the Live Aid concert, a father was there who happened to be a firefighter,” Cuttle said. “He approached the Oakville Firefighters about our cause and they have agreed to donate 15 per cent to our cause. This is amazing. Liam’s dream is to become a firefighter.”

Knowing Liam’s love for firefighters, O’Driscoll recruited a team of the Oakville fire stations involved with Liam’s Brigade.


“Another teacher and I went around and got them to pose with signs wishing Liam luck,” said O’Driscoll. “We then made a collage of those people along with the pictures of the Change Club kids and put them into a frame which is currently hanging up in his room at home.”

O’Driscoll’s Change Club has raised more than $2,850 and the students are in the process of making Christmas cards to sell at their school’s Christmas concert for Liam’s cause.

“We were overwhelmed and touched because Liam had never attended a day of school at Morden, yet they embraced him as one of their own,” his dad said. “He was treated like a rock star.”

Liam’s Brigade has set a goal of $50,000 to fund a research project in Liam’s name. All money raised will go directly to SickKids to help Liam and kids like him should they relapse.

“Every little bit counts,” Cuttle said.

“You don’t fight cancer alone. We are overwhelmed with the desire of people to help. We’ve been focused on Liam’s treatment, so all we have really done is expressed our desire to do this and raised awareness of the need. Our friends, family and community have really come together to raise money for the case. We can’t take any credit for any of it.”