Harrison Gilks

Canadian teen sharing his cancer battle, ‘bucket list’ adventure on TikTok dies at 18

Teenager from New Brunswick who used TikTok to chronicle his struggle with cancer and check off items on his “bucket list” inspired thousands of people.

For the past few months, Harrison Gilks of Fredericton has been sharing his battle with terminal cancer with more than 300,000 followers on TikTok. The 18-year-old said in a video on June 29, 2017, that although he thought his cancer had disappeared, it had been “confirmed” that it had come back.

In that 2022 video, he said, “I’d like to produce a little series called, maybe like, ‘Bucket List’ series. “I’d like to do a lot of things that I’ve always wanted to do. I’m not exactly sure yet. Perhaps skydiving or similar activities.

“I feel like I kind of owe it to my friends to keep them informed, and because I don’t enjoy contacting people, I think this is a pretty excellent method to accomplish that. It’s not easy to post this.”

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Since then, Gilks’ neighborhood and kind internet donors have contributed money to help him cross items off his bucket list. In recent months, he has had the opportunity to take helicopter rides in New York and Jasper, Alberta, meet hockey players from the Montreal Canadiens, see a Los Angeles Rams game, and take in the sun in Mexico.


Dream come true for sure! #montrealcanadiens #bucketlist

♬ original sound – Harrison


On March 21, Gilks published his final video, in which, while still in the hospital, he discussed his trip to Mexico.

He said, “Basically the day after I got back, my body kind of, honestly started to give out.” “I started experiencing numerous problems. After spending the night at home, we had to take an ambulance to the hospital the next day.

I don’t have a lot of time left, the doctor remarked. There is almost little possibility that I will return home. I’ll therefore likely spend the remainder of my remaining time in the hospital.

He went on to remark that the situation was “upsetting” and that he wishes something could be done.

“This is just the way she goes,” he said. “The best thing you guys can do, I guess, [is] pray for me.

“Pray for me and my family. It’s been a great ride with you guys on the ‘Bucket List.’ … Thank you for all of the support throughout everything. ‘Bucket List’ complete.”

Gilks’s brother, David, posted an update on TikTok on Thursday, letting fans know what happened a few hours prior.

He answered, “This is simply how she is.” “I guess praying for me is the best thing you guys can do.

“Pray for my family and me. With you guys on the “Bucket List,” it’s been a blast. I want to express my gratitude for your support throughout. “Bucket List” is finished.”

David Gilks, Gilks’ brother, informed followers of what had occurred earlier in a TikTok update on Thursday.

“He was not in pain when he passed away and he was with his family,” David explained. “Him and his friends got the opportunity to say ‘goodbye’ over the last few weeks, and I just wanted to come on here and say ‘thank you’ to everyone from around the world for their support and encouragement. It really did mean a lot to him.”

Harrison received a rhabdomyosarcoma diagnosis in November 2020, according to CBC News.

Rhabdomyosarcoma, which can develop at any age and is the most prevalent type of soft tissue sarcoma in children, is said to begin in the muscle cells.

His father, Trevor Gilks, claimed that he had spots on his lungs and a sizable tumor near his prostate. He underwent months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment before beginning to show indications of remission in February 2022.

A few months later, the cancer returned even more strongly, and it was determined that he had just months to live.

The neighborhood continued to support the late athlete after his death. At an occasion called “Sticks Out for Harrison,” more than 1,600 individuals participated where they posted photos and videos of hockey sticks on their doorstep.

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