by Jaime Spyksma
She’s five, loves snowshoeing, and is passionate about giving back. Sekoia Kornelius, a kindergarten student in Mrs. Humphrey’s class, has been raising money and awareness for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation for the last few years.
Sekoia’s mom first developed a passion for the cause and in turn began Sekoia’s journey of giving back.
GET ON YOUR SNOWSHOES
“One of our family members had suffered from cancer so I wanted to be involved,” says Karen, Sekoia’s mom. “I’m not a runner so the Run for the Cure doesn’t interest me. I heard about the snowshoeing event and I enjoy this sport so it was a good fit.”
They first participated in the Tubbs Romp to Stomp Out Breast Cancer event when Sekoia was only two and a half years old. She surprised everybody and completed the entire five kilometers all by herself!
SLOW AND STEADY
“Even though she was one of the slowest, Sekoia finished the race and the organizers were amazed that she finished the race all by herself. They figure she is the youngest to have run it,” Karen beams.
This five kilometer snowshoe trek is usually held at Mt. Seymour in February, and Sekoia and her mom proudly participate in the event every year. However, due to lack of participants, the event was cancelled. This didn’t deter them though. They went ahead and organized their own private event at Sun Peaks in Kamloops.
So far, Sekoia has raised almost $18,000 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
Every year in January, she begins her fundraising. Sekoia has sat at information tables at local events, grocery stores and hockey games, even helped to host “Hot Lunch by Donation” events at her mom’s work.
Her generosity has not gone unseen in our community. In November 2012, Sekoia, received the city of Abbotsford’s City of Heroes Character award. Her nomination came from a woman who was inspired by Sekoia’s passion to give back at such a young age. She met the mayor of Abbotsford and her picture appeared in the local papers. Even though she was only 3-years-old at the time, Sekoia sees the pictures and news articles and realizes how special she is to receive this recognition.
“Sekoia is very proud to explain to people how she raises money to help sick people get better,” says Karen, “and has even stated that she really hopes that some of her friends from school will join her next year!”