by Kiran Malik-Khan
Like most 10-year-olds Ruturaj Joshi enjoys browsing YouTube videos, until a few made him stop and think.
“I like to look up interesting and fun things, and last fall suddenly came across a few videos about Cancer and how hard it is to overcome. While I was watching, I realised how similar it is to the COVID-19 situation for families who cannot support their loved ones. Cancer is one of our greatest challenges to overcome and is very difficult for the patient and individuals. Since it is hard to find a cure, I felt like I should do something to make the lives of those suffering more comfortable. I wanted to do something to help these families to show care and support from people even of my age,” recalled Ruturaj, who is a grade 5 student at Walter and Gladys Hill Public School.
He went to his Principal, Mr. Brendan Toner, to pitch an idea about fundraising for the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre.
“He loved the idea and asked me to create a slideshow to present to the school so the idea could go ahead! I worked hard on the slideshow and let them know my goal, purpose, and idea overall and how I wanted to achieve it at school.” Here’s the presentation.
Ruturaj then asked his friends Afnaan Syed, Prem Prajapati, Hunter Leckie, and Liam Rosser to join his campaign to raise $500, which was launched this February. Together the 10-year-old fifth graders created posters, presented to classes, made announcements and brought the “entire school community together,” raising $2,471.70!
“We quickly surpassed our $500 goal. My class alone supported us so much that they raised $900. By the end of the week, we found out we had raised almost $2500! I could not believe it! A week later we gave the cheque to the Northern Lights Health Foundation. I was so happy that my idea was able to come to life, and because of the fundraising total, I feel someone as young as me can make such a difference by bringing my school together to achieve this accomplishment,” enthused Ruturaj.
Prem was “inspired by Terry Fox's story to help. My friend Ruturaj and I had a chat about this fundraiser and slowly our ideas built up, we talked with the class teacher and the movement went with his support,” he shared.
“I contributed to this fundraiser because I wanted to inspire other people to do acts of kindness and help many people in need so everybody can be equal,” noted Liam.
“Considering that our goal was $500, I was very surprised and proud with the results of the fundraiser and felt like I could take on the world,” Liam added.
Afnaan was delighted to help give people with “cancer a better life.”
For Hunter, the campaign meant “we can help lots of people with Cancer. It made me happy.”
Walter and Gladys Hill’s Acting Principal, Brian Mullally (filling in for Mr. Toner) was proud of the boys for their hard work.
“The grade 5 boys ‘knocked it out of the park’ in terms of exceeding expectations when they initially began this campaign. I was struck by how motivated and dedicated the boys were throughout their fundraiser. They wanted to not only raise money for a good cause, but also educate their fellow students about the importance of cancer research and treatment programs.”
“As students of a Leader in Me school the boys truly are role models for the 8 Habits of Successful Children, which form the core pillars of this program. I'm especially proud of how the boys practised the Habit of Inspiring Others throughout this campaign. They not only inspired other students but also staff and parents too. Since noticing the success of this campaign I've had other students come up to me with school improvement proposals of their own. Who knows what the next school-wide project will be? Anything is possible with the students of Walter and Gladys Hill Public School. Thanks again, Prem, Hunter, Ruturaj, Afnaan, and Liam!” Mr. Mullally added.
Lorna Ash, Director of Development, Northern Lights Health Foundation was on hand to receive the cheque from the boys. She was exponentially impressed.
“This generous group was sparked by the Giving Spirit and I hope their actions will inspire others to make a difference and do more. These are young philanthropists indeed, and our future leaders! Many thanks to Ruturaj, Afnaan, Prem, Hunter, and Liam as well as all the students and staff at Walter and Gladys Hill Public School who supported this fundraiser.”
Thank you again to the young men who chose to give back, and to the Walter and Gladys Hill family for supporting them.
Photo caption: Front L-R: Afnaan Syed, Prem Prajapati, Hunter Leckie, Ruturaj Joshi and Liam Rosser with Lorna Ash, Director of Development of the Northern Lights Health Foundation