Sisters raise over $1,000 for Heart and Stroke

One Eramosa Public School student originally set out with the goal to raise $500 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

However, she ended up doing much more than that, earning a new bike for her friend and inspiring her sister to raise $500 for the foundation at her school.

Vanessa Ward, 10, hadn’t put serious effort into fundraising for the Heart and Stroke Jump Rope for Heart before this year.

When asked why she set the ambitious $500 fundraising goal she simply said, “So I could get my friend a bike.”

Any student who raised $500 for Jump Rope for Heart received a gift certificate to redeem for a Super Cycle Clutch Bicycle from Canadian Tire.

At Eramosa Public School and Harris Mill Public School, where Vanessa’s sister Alexis, 6, is in Grade 1, the sisters were the only students to raise enough to earn the bike.

Vanessa’s Jump Rope for Heart campaign was on May 8 at Eramosa PS and it was her determination to raise the $500 that spurred Alexis to have the same goal for Harris Mill PS’s Jump Rope for Heart day on May 22.

Primarily, the sisters went door-to-door to raise the funds.

“At first the two of them did it and then eventually, when Vanessa reached her goal … Alexis got up enough nerve to go by herself to the doors,” the girls’ mother Wendy Ward said. “So they did it by themselves.”

Together the duo raised a total of $1,034 through door-to-door canvassing.

Vanessa, who received a new bike last year, was originally going to give the Canadian Tire bike to her friend and neighbour Evelyn Morton for her birthday as a surprise.

Vanessa explained the brakes on Morton’s bike were broken so she chose to raise the money to get a new one for Morton’s birthday.

“We were just sort of brought to tears almost when Vanessa said and ‘I want to give the bike to Evelyn,’” Wendy said.

“I was so proud of her, I really was because it’s not an idea that I put in her head. It’s not anything we talked about as a family, she just decided that she got a new bike last year so she didn’t need one but she saw that her friend, Evelyn, needed a bike and she just wanted to give it to her.”

Wendy attributes a lot of her daughters’ success to the community’s generosity.

“It doesn’t take long,” she said. “When you’re going door-to-door and the people in Fergus and Guelph-Eramosa are very generous so she might get $5 for a couple houses and all of a sudden somebody would give $20 or $25 and so when you keep at it they realized their persistence paid off.”

However, along with generosity, Wendy said the campaign also taught the girls about rejection.

“Some people just shut the door on you, other people say, ‘no, I already donated,’ so they have to learn to deal with rejection too, which is interesting at their age but they kept a positive attitude,” Wendy explained.

“We told them it doesn’t matter. If the people don’t want to donate it’s okay, then you just say ‘thank you’ and move on to the next and that’s what they did.”

Both Vanessa’s and Alexis’ perseverance made their parents proud.

And this isn’t the end. Wendy said the girls will likely be fundraising again next year.

“I think they’re addicted,” she said.

“That’s what they said to me, as soon as they were done: ‘Can we do this again next year?’”