PITT MEADOWS – A South Surrey woman who succumbed to cancer last October is being honoured with an education award in her memory.
The 2012 Coast Capital Savings Standing Tall Award winner, Beth Hutchinson, passed away Oct. 25, 2013, at the age of 20 after a long battle with a cancerous brain tumour.
Her father, David Hutchinson, said Beth underwent five surgeries in an attempt to remove the cancer. During that struggle she applied to and completed one semester at UBC Okanagan campus before the tumour returned. Hutchinson said it was Beth’s dream to become a human rights lawyer.
"She wanted to continue to be educated and she wanted to continue to do things as normal and work as hard as she could," said Hutchinson, who added he was very proud when Coast Capital Savings approached him about naming the award after his daughter.
Beth was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2009, just two weeks before losing her mother to the same deadly disease. In 2011, she was chosen as a recipient of the Standing Tall awards, however the recurrence of her cancer meant school had to be postponed so she was unable to accept the award that year.
Beth Hutchinson’s convocation from Elgin Park Secondary in South Surrey.
When it became clear that she was probably not going to survive cancer, Beth began a "bucket list" of things to do before she died, including going skydiving in Abbotsford last year.
"She tried to just keep doing things," said Hutchinson. "She continued as long as she could, which is amazing."
She posted several videos to YouTube before she died, including her bucket list and her struggle to get better access to medical marijuana, which she said helped greatly alleviate pain.
This year’s winner of the Beth Hutchinson Standing Tall Award is Maple Ridge resident Emily King, who obtained her business degree while battling an aggressive brain tumour. Hutchinson said King e-mailed him before the presenting of the award to learn more about his daughter.
"There’s a number of things about her that reminded me of my daughter. She’s such a lovely girl and she’s also struggling through issues and I felt it honoured both her and my daughter at the same time."
King received the award in recognition of her determination to obtain a degree in business, despite battling an aggressive meningiomal brain tumour. She plans to enter the Bachelor of Business Administration program through the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University this fall. Hutchinson will have a celebration and reflection of Beth’s life on Saturday, Oct. 25.
"I hope to take positives out of that instead of just wallowing in self-pity and just get on with life," he said.
Coast Capital Savings has awarded 25 students Standing Tall awards valued at $5,000 each. The awards are given to extraordinary youth who have made a positive impact on their communities in the face of personal adversity.
Beth’s Brain YouTube page: The ‘Bucket List" video