Nelson’s Paige Purcell, 5, took her last load of empties to the Nelson Leafs bottle depot last week in her efforts to raise $3,315 this summer for BC Children’s Hospital.
This isn’t the first fundraiser for the family whose little girl was diagnosed with a brain tumour and underwent brain surgery two years ago. In 2013 her mother Andrea organized a Facebook fundraiser raising $7,000 to give back to Friends of the Family, the organization that helped them during their medical crisis.
With her mom’s help, the little girl has been collecting cans for recycling all summer. Paige delivered the funds in person on Monday when she went for an MRI, which she will continue to have every year until she is eight.
“An MRI isn’t the most pleasant experience as there is sedation but she’s excited to go see her neurosurgeon to give him the money,” said Andrea. “Last year she gave $300 of her birthday money to her doctor.”
It was Paige’s idea to collect bottles and donate the returns. Andrea was running with her daughter in the stroller one morning when they began to pick up the empties after Andrea explained they were not garbage but recyclable.
“When we got the money back, I asked Paige if she wanted to go to the bakery. She suggested that we save the money and collect more bottles to give money like she did with her birthday money last year.”
The proud mom supported the idea and the bottle collecting began. Friends called Andrea to pick up collected empties and some would drop them off.
People also dropped off empties at the Nelson Leafs bottle depot where they donated the refund to Paige’s account, which will remain open over the winter.
Andrea’s husband is an air attack officer and they have received significant support from the Arrow Fire Zone. The Valhalla Unit Crew and initial attack crews donated bottles from the Slocan Park fire, which firefighters helped sort and transport. Air tanker dispatchers and the provincial fire coordination centre in Kamloops also raised $1,000.
The BC Children’s Hospital recognized Paige’s efforts last week featuring the little girl as one of their superheroes.
Meanwhile Paige started Kindergarten in September where, according to her mother, she is thriving and very happy.
“She’s healthy and she’s growing,” said Andrea. “She is exceeding my expectations.”