*Name changed to maintain privacy
Raven* learned her father carried the HD gene in 2014 when her parents attended the HSC National Conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The next year after the discovery, she decided she wanted to help in some way.
At just 11 years old, Raven started organizing an annual bottle drive for HD in her community in Saskatchewan. This year will be the 3rd year of the fundraiser.
“It feels good to help out and know that I am making a bit of a difference,” she says.
One of Raven’s biggest supporters through her fundraising has been her mom. “It’s like you wish you could give more money to the cause, but instead we have more time. We can give our time to help out this community,” says her mom.
The idea to do a bottle drive came after Raven’s school did one for a different fundraiser. She decided she could arrange one herself, but this time for HD. Raven gathered her friends to help, and they spent 4-5 hours per day going door to door equipped with HD pamphlets and information, dressed in their HSC gear. The first year of the fundraiser raised just over $400.
Last year, Raven added an online donation page component to the event with HSC’s help. She also wrote a letter to two local Rona stores requesting that they make HSC the beneficiary of their popcorn sales. With these additions, funds raised jumped to $3,400 in year two!
Volunteering has helped Raven gain more confidence, organization skills and flexibility. She has learned to adapt to changing plans due to weather or unforeseen circumstances. She now knows how it feels to complete an event and have that sense of pride and accomplishment.
“If you’re thinking of volunteering, you just need to go for it,” says Raven. “You may feel like your help won’t make a difference, but every bit helps!”
For the young fundraiser, new research developments give her the motivation to keep going.
“It feels like I am helping,” she says. “When they come out with new treatments and research, it feels like I was a part of making that happen.”
National Volunteer Week is April 15-21. We are taking the time to celebrate and thank all of our dedicated volunteers in the HD community! We appreciate the contributions of time and effort from all of our incredible volunteers.