Aldergrove resident Kaden Van Buren trekked up and down the Abby Grind 19 times on his 19th birthday Saturday, July 12. He was accompanied throughout the day by trail runners he’d met on previous hikes.

Aldergrove resident Kaden Van Buren trekked up and down the Abby Grind 19 times on his 19th birthday Saturday, July 12. He was accompanied throughout the day by trail runners he’d met on previous hikes.

19 times on 19th birthday: Langley teen goes from crutches to conquering Abby Grind

Kaden Van Buren started at midnight on Saturday. By 3 p.m. he had completed the trek 19 times.

To ring in his 19th birthday Saturday, high school graduate Kaden Van Buren completed the Abbotsford version of the Grouse Grind – 19 times.

The Aldergrove teen started at midnight, to cover more than 68 kilometres of steep ground on the Glen Ryder Trail on his day off work from Newlands Golf Course.

By 3 p.m. Van Buren had trekked up and down the steep face of the Abby Grind for 15 hours straight, cheered on by “Rise and Grinders” he’d met previously on the hike.

To those who know the now-19 year old, the feat was baffling.

Just a year ago Van Buren could barely make it out of bed, let alone manage a continuous ascent and descent of more than 15,000 metres in one go.

RELATED: 96-year-old woman scales B.C. Butte with help of family, friends

Two years ago Van Buren was diagnosed with a form of arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, as well as Crohn’s disease.

His conditions gradually worsened until August 2019, when he found himself immobilized by pain in his joints. He was in and out of doctors’ offices and hospital emergency rooms.

“It hurt to sleep,” he said, mentioning a number of medications he tried to relieve his agony.

Close family friend Teresa Penner admitted she was unsure whether Van Buren was going to make it another year after watching the teen struggle with stairs at the Chief Sepass Theatre, where he photographs for LifeApp community events.

To hike out in nature had become a far-off dream, one Van Buren tried to keep alive as an amateur photographer with more than 29,000 followers on Instagram.

“I couldn’t hike for the longest time. I’d get up and walk shorter walks on flat ground, and take photos from there. But it was still so painful,” he said.

“What kept me going while in crutches was the hope of being able to chase my dream of landscape photography one day,” he shared.

“Hope – that was the biggest thing. To find a passion for something. That kept me going.”

Along Van Buren’s journey back to health, he discovered dual passions for trail running and cycling, too. 

It was a combination of treatments that allowed him to get up and move again. 

After putting himself on a strict diet and spending hours each day exercising to improve his condition, the teen promised himself if he ever got better he wouldn’t take for granted the ability to run or walk.

READ MORE: Aldergrove firefighter lugs gear to the top of Grouse Grind for charity

A biologic medication, adalimumab, helped him regain his strength to the point of something “freakishly unbelievable,” Penner remarked.

“Once I started feeling a lot better it made me so grateful,” Van Buren said.

“It’s the best feeling ever. I have a new perspective on life after being able to walk around and run freely again. It made me want to push myself and see how far my body can go.”

Van Buren’s next goal is to top the fastest recorded completion of the Abby Grind, which currently stands at 27 minutes (up and down). 

So far, Van Buren’s personal record is 29 minutes.

“This weekend or the next I’m going to beat that time,” he said.

I can't believe that I dropped you off at 12 p.m. last night at the base of a mountain in the middle of nowhere, in…

Posted by Kirk Van Buren on Sunday, July 12, 2020

Nowadays, with physical exercise, Van Buren only feels slight twinges from the arthritis in his right hip.

Though in comparison to last year, the active teen said “it’s nothing bad.”

AldergroveFitnessHealth and wellness

Just Posted

(Clockwise, from top-left) Brenda DeJong, Carol Jones, Marcia Strang, Cathy Collis and Mark East star in the upcoming Sidekick Players Zoom presentation of the Norm Foster play “Halfway There,” directed by Carroll Lefebvre, on May 22, 2021. (Submitted photos)
Delta’s Sidekick Players continue ‘Foster Zoom Fest’ with ‘Halfway There’

Tsawwassen-based theatre company hosting another online performance on Saturday, May 22

Sergeant Mike Sanchez of the Surrey Gang Enforcement Team speaking with students. (Photo: RCMP).
Surrey RCMP’s anti-gang program goes virtual amid COVID-19 pandemic

Presentations aimed at youth available to be booked

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Discussions about Surrey-owned land in Langley should be behind closed doors, councillors say

That’s what Councillors Brenda Locke, Jack Hundial and former Surrey mayor Bob Bose say

Little House Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Society COO Debbi McKenzie stands in front of the society’s namesake facility with Phoenix Drug Alcohol Recovery and Education Society CEO Keir Macdonald. (Submitted photo)
Delta’s Little House Society merging with Surrey-based Phoenix Society

Merger ‘came together in a really organic way’ as societies have been working together for two years

Elsje Hannah stands in the old safe at the Healing Place Counselling Centre in the Dale Building. Hannah converted the old safe into a chapel-area for quiet reflection for clients at her practice, which includes the not-for-profit Soul Matters Counselling. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Not-for-profit counselling service opens in Cloverdale

Soul Matters Counselling is located on 176th in the Dale Building

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Mandarin Garden in Abbotsford had two event tents set up for outdoor dining. One of the tents, valued at more than $5,000, was stolen early Friday morning (May 14). (Submitted photo)
UPDATE: Dining tent stolen from Abbotsford restaurant is located

Owner says it would have cost more than $5,000 to replace the rented event tent

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Most Read