Youngster raises money for Downie fund

A young North Islander is doing her part to rid the world of cancer.

A very young North Island philanthropist is doing her part to rid the world of cancer.

Grace Joseph, 10, from Port Hardy, has been busy fund-raising for brain cancer research in honour of Gord Downie of Tragically Hip.

“She is a big fan of Tragically Hip,” says her mom Maureen Hanuse, adding that she can sing all the lyrics to Wheat Kings.

“She listens to a lot of rock music. Tom Petty, Tragically Hip, Rolling Stones, to name a few,” Hanuse said.

When mom and daughter were sitting at home watching the live broadcast of The Man Machine Poem Tour in Kingston, Ontario, Grace learned about Downie’s terminal brain cancer.

“At the end of the show she said to me ‘Mom, can I fund-raise for brain cancer research?’ I said to her ‘of course you can’.”

Grace’s original plan was to have a barbecue sale, said Hanuse, but she had no start up funds.

“So what she did was used the $10 that she had and bought a couple of cake mixes and started selling cupcakes. All of her cupcakes were sold within a few minutes of posting them on her bake sale page,” Hanuse said.

Grace, a Grade 5 student at Eagle View Elementary School, has a history of raising money to pay for special things she wants like new school shoes and clothes.

She did this over the summer by operating lemonade stands. “So when she expressed the interest in fund-raising for brain cancer research, I knew that she would do well.”

Grace set a goal of raising $500 to donate to the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research at the Sunnybrook Foundation, said Hanuse.

This fund will help give Sunnybrook the tools it needs to help beat brain cancers that are currently unbeatable. Sunnybrook is investigating new drugs, surgical techniques and genetic therapies.

They are also using ultrasound to help drugs reach tumours that couldn’t be reached before.

In order to reach her goal, Grace did the majority of her fund-raising by baking and selling mostly cupcakes, but also a few pies. “She also raffled off a mermaid tail blanket donated by my mom Agnes Wallace,” said Hanuse.

Grace also received a couple of cash donations. As of Dec. 1, Grace has not only reached, but more than doubled her $500 goal and shaved her head.

“When she decided to do that, it gave me butterflies, because I did not expect that. She asked if she could, and I said yes, but I thought I’d give her a few days to think about it and see if she’d change her mind, but nope.”

Hanuse describes her daughter as very compassionate, and “also had in mind family and friends that have lost someone or that have been affected by cancer.

“She is very smart, and organized. She plans her own birthday parties and has done so since she was three years old,” said her proud mom. “Whenever she plans to do something she always has a checklist.”

Grace’s aunt that lives in Vancouver purchased $10 worth of cupcakes and told her to deliver five of them to elders, and five of them to kids.

“The five elders that she gave the cupcakes to just happened to either lose someone to cancer or experienced cancer. When I told Grace that, she gave me a big hug, and I could tell how much love she had for them, the smile on her face said it all.”

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