Wednesday, September 4, 2013

 

Community News

Lemon-Aid

Yarrow boy raises a pile of cash for charity

Staff/Voice photos

 

Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz holds the microphone for Kai Manning at City Hall on Tuesday.

 

f you thought that heroes are big macho guys, then you haven't met 9-year-old Kai Manning. He's every bit a hero as the manly men, just in a slightly smaller package.

Life handed the boy a huge lemon when his dad died from cancer. So what did he do? He did what any super hero would do and he made lemonade.

On Tuesday, at the regular city council meeting, Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz presented the young entrepreneur with a certificate of recognition after he made $4250 selling lemonade and cookies over the summer months for the BC Children's Hospital.

The story went viral locally on social media.

Gaetz read out loud from a Facebook post by Chilliwack RCMP Cst. Kevin Morris about the time he first saw the lad on the roadside.

"It immediately took me back to when I was a young boy trying to save up a few bucks for something I really wanted.

I pulled over to the side of the road to ask the boy how much, he nervously said, by mistake, $50 for a glass and quickly corrected himself and said 50.

He then went on to tell me he was selling cookies and juice to raise money for cancer. He told me how he had lost his father to cancer and didn't want anyone else in the world to lose someone they loved. And my heart immediately broke.

In speaking with the neighbours, they confirmed the young man's story, as did his mother who said that this was his idea and he was doing it all on his own.

I tried to scrounge up whatever change I could find in my work bag, and gave it to him but certainly it didn't feel like hardly enough and I sent messages out to my work colleagues as well as co-workers and dispatch and lets just say that my new friend did indeed get the $50 plus some he had nervously and mistakenly asked for when I first introduced myself.

It's so refreshing to know that there's so much good out there. Between my co-workers pitching in a few dollars and this young man taking time out of his summer on a bright sunny day, when other kids were running through sprinklers, to do what he thought was right. And this is why I love what I do. You get to see so much good in people."

Gaetz said it wasn't long before Morris' endearing Facebook statement got traction in the community.

"I watched the whole community come together and I thought I want to honour Kai here today," she said.

Gaetz told Manning she thought he was wise beyond his years.

"I want to first of all thank you, Kai, because I know that Cst. Morris has it right when he says kids are doing all kinds of other things and having fun on a summer day, but I know that you lost your dad and that was very tough for you, and you made it through such sadness and loss, and I know that you didn't want that to happen to anybody else," she said.

Gaetz said it was because Morris took the time to acknowledge Kai and share his story that helped to generate such a sizeable donation.

"I have to say a huge thank-you to Cst. Morris, because without you telling the story, few people would have known about Kai and him selling his lemonade," she said.

"I think what struck me most was that you said in your job, you see the good in people and it made me realize what an amazing group of RCMP officers we have here in the city of Chilliwack," she explained adding "when they could be grumbling about the kind of work they have to do and the bad side of humanity that they may see on a continual basis."

"My biggest donation was from a guy who just came, he was the first one to come and he gave me $200 for nothing," said Manning when receiving his certificate.

"Thank you to everyone who drank that delicious lemonade and ate one of those cookies and who knows but that money may be helping some child somewhere stay safe and not have to face cancer," concluded Gaetz.

 

Copyright (c) 2013 The Valley Voice