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Thousand Islands Elementary School Student Raises $5,000 for Classmate’s New Wheelchair
Thousand Islands Elementary School Student Raises $5,000 for Classmate’s New Wheelchair
Posted on 10/21/2020

October 21, 2020 (Lansdowne, ON) – When Grade 4 Thousand Islands Elementary School student Ava Deryaw found out her classmate needed a new wheelchair, she got creative.

Ava’s classmate, Ducky Steacy, has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. Ducky needs a new wheelchair that will better fit her growing body. A new wheelchair costs approximately $6,000, and Ava says she realized she could help her friend’s family with the equipment purchase.

“Ducky is a nice and sweet girl and she’s been growing a lot, and they need to buy a new chair,” explains Ava. “It’s a lot of money, so I thought it was a good idea to help raise money.”

Ava, 9, was inspired when she learned Ducky’s support worker was designing and selling face masks to raise money for the chair. Ava made tie-dyed t-shirts with her mom over the provincially mandated COVID-19 school closure period and says she thought it was a good idea to start selling her t-shirt creations as a fundraiser.

Since then, she’s sold more than 170 t-shirts.

“Ava is a very kind girl,” says TIES office administrator Danielle Jean. “It’s inspiring to see kids take that step forward. Ava is amazing and a lot of kids wouldn’t think to go above and beyond for her friend.”

While Ava succeeded in selling t-shirts, she took her fundraising idea to another level. Writing a letter to the Gananoque Lions Club seeking financial support for Ducky’s chair, Ava eventually got on a Zoom conference call with the service club’s members.

“They said they would donate money and buy some shirts, too. Later on, we met up at the park and they came with a huge cheque that had $1,000 written on it,” Ava explains.

The Lions Club’s donation combined with Ava’s t-shirt sales brings the total to more than $5,000.

TIES Principal Nancy Holman says Ava’s initiative speaks to the school’s community spirit.

“We’re a community school that cares about every single child. It starts at the students and goes all the way to our staff. They’re constantly looking for ways to make our school a better place,” says Holman. “What this shows me is inclusion of all learners bring so much value to everybody. It’s inspiring what Ava has been able to do, and Ducky inspires us to do better every day.”

Ava says she was simply happy to help her friend.

“Ducky is funny, and she always makes us laugh,” says Ava. “Doing this makes me feel like a better friend and makes me feel happy.”

For more information, please contact:

Nancy Holman, Principal
Thousand Islands Elementary School
nancy.holman@ucdsb.on.ca


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