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Touching donation tops PECI’s Terry Fox fundraising tally to $12,500

Leading up to Thanksgiving weekend, students at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute were thankful for community support that helped them smash their fundraising goal to raise funds for cancer research.

Thursday, 1,059 students were invited to meet on the front lawn of the school to witness the unveiling of the amount raised, before participating in the Terry Fox Run/Walk to downtown Picton and back.

Applause rang out as poster cards held by students unfolded, showing $12,382.44 had been raised from a goal set at $10,000. Added to that was a touching donation topping the tally to $12,500.

This year’s Terry Fox Run fundraiser was organized by teacher Rob Garden and the entrepreneurship class.

“By comparison, last year was our first K-12 event and we were still so new, having not been a K-12 for a full year yet and we raised $1,900. So this time, people felt passionate, like they belonged. It’s amazing to see the power of a true K-12 model. It came together nicely with full school participation.”

“Rob Garden and the ENT class deserve all the credit for this successful community fundraiser,” said PECI principal Earle Wright. “They’ve done a phenomenal job. They’ve really worked hard – from organizing the route we’re taking, to having a police escort for it, and all the fundraising dollars,

“The K-12 model I know may have been met with a little reserve at first but it’s a really great thing. We have all these high school kids who are really great leaders and mentors for our young kids and, like this today, there’s really great things happening.”

This year’s fundraising was in honour of two students who graduated in June.

Abby Heffernan was unable to attend her graduation, but was honoured at the ceremony by staff, graduates and families attending with a standing ovation as she was named recipient of the MacGuyver Daubney award for grit, resilience and overcoming adversity.

In another touching moment, Wednesday, Griffin Heffernan, Abby’s little brother, made the final donation to bring the school’s fund-raising total to $12,500.

Touching moreso as Abby died this August after battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia since she was 13 years old – diagnosed just three weeks into Grade 9.

“Abby described this as her life-defining moment,” said friend Cori Goodman. “In her words, ‘The moments that make one stop, take a breath and permanently change one’s outlook on life’… If Abby was here today I know she would tell you how proud she is of everyone who fundraised – one step closer to our dream that one day, a family just like Abby’s can hear the words ‘there is a cure.'”

Abby’s friend Alexa Prinzen was the school’s top single fundraiser, gathering $600.

“I reached out to people I knew, and especially those who have been affected by cancer. Earlier this year my aunt’s dad died of cancer and it was really sudden, and I lost my friend Abby, so I thought it would be a really awesome way to show support by raising as much money as I could,” said Prinzen. “People were so supportive and donated money easily. When cancer is related to people you know, it changes everything. I didn’t care if I raised the most, I just wanted to try and raise as much money as I could to help many people.”

Students were also showing support for Melanie Mills, who walked the graduation stage in June – not knowing she had a brain tumour.

“She started having migraines the Saturday after graduation,” explained student Emma Brady. “To say the least, life after graduation is not at all what she expected. Melanie’s cancer is called Glineurocyuptoma, brain cancer not only rare for her age, but for any patient… She has an incredibly positive outlook on life, despite her world being flipped upside down. So far, everything has been successful and Melanie, her friends and family continue to hope for the very best,” while she is in care at Kingston General Hospital.

Taking fundraising into action, the students, teachers and some family members headed to town for their official Terry Fox Run/Walk. They were led by Prince Edward OPP officers Reema Abdo, and Kim Guthrie who helped ensure the participants’ safety along the route.

The Terry Fox Run is an annual non-competitive charity event held around the world in commemoration of Canadian cancer activist Terry Fox, and his Marathon of Hope to raise money for cancer research.

Rob Garden also noted he was pleased the new Plastic-free PEC group was set up on Main Street with its portable water-filling station.

“Normally we’d have a couple hundred plastic water bottles for people at an event like this, but we’re changing for the better,” said Garden. “It’s also nice this is the first time we’ve taken the Terry Fox event out in the community, which, for a K-12 school is important. We want people to see us and the great things that kids do – and vice-versa. We got tons of support from the community, so we should be out there.”

Filed Under: cheersFeatured ArticlesHastings & Prince Edward District School BoardPECI - It's a Panther Thing

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  1. Dennis Fox says:

    While in town today, I saw all these young people running – it was a truly remarkable sight. As I said to one of the teachers – good for them!

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