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'I hope he can feel better': Edmonton students raise $10K to support classmate with cancer

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Students at an Edmonton school rallied around one of their classmates with a terminal form of cancer on Wednesday.

Karter Bourgeault was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) in July. It's a cancer that attacks the brain stem, making up 10 to 15 per cent of brain tumours in children.

According to the DIPG Registry, fewer than 10 per cent of children diagnosed with the cancer will survive two years after diagnosis.

Karter's family says there aren't a lot of treatment options for DIPG in Canada.

They've spent thousands of dollars travelling to the States trying to get Karter into clinical trials, but so far have not been successful.

Because of that, his friends and classmates at Crawford Plains School in south Edmonton decided to raise money for research for Karter's cancer.

"It's an Oiler-themed fundraiser in Karter’s honour. The proceeds are going to brain cancer research for kids," said Karter's mom, Nicole Fraser.

During the Oilers playoff run, the school had fanfare days, selling blue and orange gear on game days.

"Today is our grand finale event where students have been getting pledges to have their hair shaved or dyed," Crawford Plains principal Lisa Nachtigal said.

Students at Crawford Plains School participate in a head shaving fundraiser on May 31, 2023. (CTV News Edmonton)

The students raised more than $10,000.

"My heart is bursting. I’m so proud of our school community and how they’ve rallied. This is a really special day today."

More than half of the money was raised by one student, Giles Baker.

Giles put out a call on his mother's Instagram page, pledging to shave his head in exchange for donations.

Giles Baker and his mother Kara. (CTV News Edmonton)

"Karter had cancer, so I wanted to shave my head to raise money for him," Giles told CTV News Edmonton.

He said it's hard watching his classmate go through a serious illness.

"I hope he can feel better."

His mother Kara Baker said she's proud of her son's accomplishment.

"His goal was $200, and we surpassed that by a milestone. We were able to raise $5,270."

"It's phenomenal. The fact that he could inspire so many people, and the generosity of people, it’s heartwarming."

Karter's family is still searching for a clinical trial to help their son.

Karter Bourgeault with his mother Nicole and father Richard on May 31, 2023. (CTV News Edmonton)

His mother says he took a turn for the worse in March, when the tumour splintered in his brain.

"Now that he took this turn I’ve stopped working. [His father's] been lucky enough to be home with him since he got diagnosed, but we’re just spending as much time with him as we can because there is no other treatments."

Fraser said they don't know what's next for Karter, but being at school and the support from his friends has helped him through some of the dark days.

"The kids here have been so amazing for him. He's had such support from all of them."

"It definitely makes him push harder and he tries to succeed more."

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jessica Robb and Brittany Ekelund 

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