FERGUS – Addison Hill only lived to be 14 years old, but she has left her mark on this community.
And the community continues to rally around Addison’s favourite causes: sarcoma cancer research, basketball, and spreading joy and hope to the people around her.
Hundreds flocked to Centre Wellington District High School for the second Family Fun Day on July 8, an event to raise awareness of sarcoma cancer and funds for Dr. David Malkin’s research laboratory at Sick Kids hospital.
“She had such a vibrant spirit,” said Addison’s mother Jessica Hill in an interview.
“Her love for life, her unwavering spirit and her inspiration … I see the impact she has on people and it moves me. That’s what motivates me and keeps me going.”
Addison was diagnosed with sarcoma cancer last fall and underwent surgery and chemotherapy at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.
While she rallied at times and there was hope she would overcome the disease, she succumbed to cancer on July 10 last year, two days after her 14th birthday.
She wasn’t able to attend the first Family Fun Day, yet her presence was felt at the event this year on July 8.
Basketball went on inside the gym; carnival games and a vendors’ market went on outdoors; and the Grand River Band kept the place hopping.
Jessica and Dave Hill have also sponsored an award at Elora Public School in Addison’s memory and the first Golden Heart Inspiration Memorial Award was given to Sophia Farrow at the school’s Grade 8 graduation ceremony in June.
Principal Natasha Skerritt said Sophia received the award for her positive outlook on life.
“She faces every challenge with a positive and fun approach. Sophia perseveres and encourages others. She can always be found smiling,” Skerritt stated in an email.
Hill said Addison loved school and she hopes the award will inspire students to nurture the qualities Addison had: passion and spirit to overcome challenges and having a positive outlook.
Keeping her own outlook positive since Addison’s death has been a challenge for Hill.
“Ever since we lost her it has been tough,” she said.
“Watching her battle that journey, she was so brave and always a smile on her face. That’s why I want to take action. That’s what keeps me going.”
While the total tally is not complete, Hill said it looks like Family Fun Day raised $65,000.
But it’s not over. An Addy-Tude concert is planned for Sept. 23 at the MacDonald Pavilion in Elora featuring Monowhales, Stacey Kay, Georgia Harmer and Lauren Roy.
Tickets are $45. Details are available at teamaddy.ca/events.