Courage Eigbike, a percussionist in John Welsh & Los Valientes, occupational therapist and volunteer, died of cancer on July 3. A celebration of his life is being held Thursday at noon, and is open to the public.                                Submitted photo

Courage Eigbike, a percussionist in John Welsh & Los Valientes, occupational therapist and volunteer, died of cancer on July 3. A celebration of his life is being held Thursday at noon, and is open to the public. Submitted photo

Friends, family celebrate life of ‘angel from heaven’

Fraser Valley-based percussionist, therapist and volunteer hailed as man with boundless energy, love

Counsellor, musician, a strong community member and “an angel from heaven.”

That’s what the Fraser Valley lost this month when Courage Eigbike lost his fight against cancer, according to friends, who described Eigbike as an energetic, happy man who gave back to his community.

A ceremony, open to the public, is being held Thursday to celebrate the life of Eigbike — and a celebration is exactly what friends expect the ceremony to be, with attendees asked to wear bright colours, a reflection of Eigbike’s own life.

Born in Nigeria, Eigbike moved to Canada when he was 12 years old with his family, attending Clayton Heights School in Cloverdale. He later studying kinesiology at the University of the Fraser Valley, according to an obituary posted to Facebook, co-written by his wife, Krystina Eigbike, and bandmate John Welsh.

“During this time he worked for Communitas serving people with special needs and was involved in Big Brothers, Big Sisters,” the obituary reads, going on to say that he then moved to Halifax to study occupational therapy.

“Courage returned in 2013 to be close to his Oma and Opa and resumed being an active member of the community as a volunteer, occupational therapist and musical performer.

“He was a strong advocate for the clients he served and was greatly loved by his co-workers, family, friends and everyone that met him, even if only once.”

Eigbike’s final living space was in Chilliwack, a home he bought with his wife, whom he married in 2015, to start a home for their new family, Welsh said in an interview.

“Be kind, live well and love deeply” were the words that Eigbike lived by and those which he imparted upon his loved ones in a legacy video he made toward his final days.

Even enduring 26 rounds of chemotherapy after his April 2017 appendix cancer diagnosis, Welsh said Eigbike pushed on with a positive attitude.

“The first week of chemo, the first three or four days, he would be pretty much tired. But the amazing thing was that he lived a pretty full life even on the chemo,” Welsh said.

“During this time he continued to live life to the fullest; attending social events, being a dedicated dad, maintaining an incredibly positive attitude and touring with the band as far away as California and Mexico,” the obituary reads.

Prior to the chemo, comments from Welsh and Gregory Ould, another friend of Eigbike, paint a picture of a lively, positive man with seemingly boundless energy. On top of playing percussion in the band with Welsh, he volunteered with groups like Big Brothers, Big Sisters and the band played shows for benefits for the Blanket B.C. Society, which is how Ould came to know Eigbike.

Ould, the co-founder and executive director of Blanket B.C., said he first came to meet him at a benefit concert for the non-profit’s 10-year anniversary “and just blew the roof off the house.”

“I did talk to Courage two weeks prior to his passing. He gave me a call to say ‘hi’ and return my phone call,” Ould said. “He was one of those guys that he would light up a room with his smile. You couldn’t say anything bad about him.”

Ould described Eigbike as the type of person one would call when they needed to be picked up from a bad mood.

Eigbike’s music, performed with Welsh in the band John Welsh & Los Valientes, is a reflection of that personality — upbeat songs with draws from global genres, from Latin and folk-rock to West African and reggae.

Welsh said the band’s music videos were a gauge for Eigbike’s personality, and the energy at the band’s live shows often came not just from the upbeat tunes, but from Eigbike himself, Welsh said.

“He knew how to bring the party, get people dancing and stuff like that,” Welsh said. “He was always pointing out people in the crowd and getting ladies dancing. He would go out in the crowd and do conga lines with people at the end of the show.”

The celebration of life will be held at noon Thursday at the Fraser River Funeral Home, 2061 Riverside Rd. in Abbotsford. Attendees are also asked not to bring flowers, but a donation box will be available to contribute to an education fund for Eigbike’s one-year-old son, Ayro.

Report a typo or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The City of Surrey is currently working through the initial phase for a park that’ll be built at 72 Avenue and 191 Street in Clayton. (Image via City of Surrey)
New park to be built in Clayton Heights

City of Surrey asking for feedback from Clayton residents

A Transit Police officer and another driver were injured on Nov. 4 in a traffic crash while the officer was responding to another officers call for help catching a man who escaped custody. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Police watchdog investigating Surrey crash that injured transit cop, another driver

Crash happened 11 p.m. Nov. 4, at 128th Street and 93rd Avenue in Cedar Hills

Members of the community participate in the 7th annual Coldest Night of the Year event Feb. 22, 2020. This year’s event will have a virtual aspect to it because of COVID, says organizer Courtenay van den Boogaard. (Photo Submitted: Amanda Grewall)
Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser to support Cloverdale Community Kitchen

Annual events raises funds to help homeless community

Music therapist Felicia Wall in the music room at Phoenix Society in Surrey. (submitted photo)
Eclectic album showcases songs recorded by Surrey residents in recovery

Project at Phoenix Society took about six months to complete, with help of music therapist

Surrey RCMP is looking for witnesses and video after a fatal crash in Newton on Christmas Day 2020. Police say the driver left the scene before officers arrived at the 6700-block of King George Boulevard. (Photo: Curtis Kreklau)
Surrey RCMP seeking witnesses, video of fatal Christmas Day crash

Woman was killed in the 6700-block of King George Boulevard

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

The Fraser Valley Regional Library board of directors recently finalized its budget. (Black Press Media files)
Fraser Valley Regional Library budget not enough to keep up with booming population

Almost $5 million of books, DVDs, and ebooks to be purchased in 2021

Most Read