Paul and Mandy Fowler’s lives changed over a year ago when their five-year-old son, Kayge, was diagnosed with an incurable form of brain cancer.

The Sault Ste. Marie community supported Kayge and his family throughout his very public battle with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), which ended late last week.

“Our hearts are shattered, we have no idea how to begin to process what happened and how quickly,” Mandy Fowler wrote on Facebook. “But I am so proud of him, and so proud to be his mommy. Up until his very last day, he did everything he could to make everyone around him happy. Yesterday he wished his papa a happy birthday and his last words to us was ‘I love you too.’”

Kayge’s family received a hero’s welcome as they returned home Tuesday night from Toronto, where Kayge had been receiving his treatments.

A line of motorcycles, cars and trucks escorted Kayge’s family into the city while many Saultites stood along the route to show their support. Members from the Algoma Autism Riders, Bikers Rights Organization (Bro), Ironworkers Local 786, along with a lot of independent motorcycle riders met the family on Highway 17 as they made their way back to town and escorted them to Arthur's Funeral Home. Community members lined the streets on Trunk and Wellington, many with candles, signs, and yellow ribbons. 

“We are in awe of you guys. Our warrior came home on his shield and got a hero’s welcome,” Paul Fowler wrote on Facebook. “We appreciate you so much. Our boy was honoured well, again.”

A Facebook group called Prayers for Kayge, Our Superhero has been flooded with tributes and well wishes since the news of his passing.

The community rallied with the Fowlers over the past year on various fundraising events to help pay for Kayge’s treatments and to raise awareness about DIPG.

The latest event, called “Superhero Steps for Kayge,” took place on May 25 and saw over 100 people take part in the 5k and 10k runs.

“Our focus and our mission is to create awareness for DIPG,” Paul Fowler told CTV News at the event. “Just get people aware and fight this thing since there’s been no treatment advances made since the 1960s. So it’s something that needs our attention, it’s killing our children.”

Mandy started a petition in the House of Commons to declare May 25 National DIPG Awareness Day across Canada. Signatures will be accepted until June 12.

DIPG Doesn't Stand a Chance video