North

Girl fighting brain cancer knocks Yellowknife off her bucket list

Rheanna Trepanier spent two days in Yellowknife this past weekend for a real Northern experience. She drove a snowmobile, ate at Bullock’s Bistro, drove a dogsled team on Grace Lake and finished it with a pizza lunch at Boston Pizza.

Volunteers in Yellowknife, Edmonton come together for Northern family weekend

Rheanna Trepanier, 10, about to mush out at the head of a dogsled team. (Alex Brockman/CBC)

A 10-year-old Edmonton girl with terminal brain cancer is back home, having just knocked a weekend in the North off her bucket list.

Rheanna Trepanier spent two days in Yellowknife this past weekend. She drove a snowmobile, ate at Bullock's Bistro, drove a dogsled team on Grace Lake (in -35 C weather, no less) and finished it with a pizza lunch at Boston Pizza.

Standing at the head of the dogsled team, Trepanier encouraged them forward.

"Mush!" she said, laughing, when asked to show how she planned to get the sled moving.

Trepanier said she was inspired to want to come North after watching the film Eight Below, which tells the story of a dogsled team surviving in Antarctica.

Rheanna Trepanier was made an honourary chef at the Boston Pizza in Yellowknife as part of her weekend in the North. (Alex Brockman/CBC)

"It's cool," she said. "I like dogs. I have one at home. His name is Loki."  

Trepanier had one of her good days Sunday, which are gradually becoming fewer and fewer. Doctors have found four tumours in her brain. They cause mood swings and make her sick.

Doctors have only given her a few months to live.

Yellowknifers pitched in 

When Trepanier's story — and her wish — reached Yellowknife, a group of friends planned the weekend for her and her family.

"There was a girl who had a wish and a bucket list," Tanya Kidston said. "It was something we could do as Yellowknifers, so we teamed up as a group and made a little girl's wish come true."

Kidson partnered with Mike Soloy, Stu Impett and Belinda Beck in Yellowknife and Carrie Bujold, a former Yellowknifer living in Edmonton, to make it happen. The entire trip was paid for by Yellowknife businesses, from the family's plane ticket to the lunch on Sunday.

For Trepanier's mom Marissa, this weekend meant new friends and a great weekend for her daughter.

"Every day is special for us," Marissa said. "Every day we're trying to create memories and do all the fun things Rheanna wants to do. Going dogsledding and living in the moment.

"Rheanna's smile is priceless."

Mike Soloy, Tanya Kidston and Stu Impett were part of a team that brought Rheanna Trepanier to Yellowknife. They were helped by Carrie Bujold, a former Yellowknifer in Edmonton as well. (Alex Brockman/CBC)

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