Cameron Jaquith, Young Ambassadors raise money for sick kids
Cameron Jaquith is at it again. She just won’t quit raising money for sick kids. Last year she raised more than $3000. Recently the enterprising girl barely eight years old presented a cheque for $4520 to the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation. There was the actual cheque representing the combined funds raised through her annual raffle of donated prizes and sale of gently used goods through her school at the Edgewater (School) Spring Shop Fest in Pincourt. Then there was the giant ceremonial cheque that Josie Pizucco who manages the Young Ambassadors Club of the Children’s helped Cameron fill out so she could have her picture taken with it. That had to be the most fun. Cameron had made a video for Facebook the night before she delivered the money thanking everyone who had bought tickets and congratulating prize winners saying, “See you next year if you buy more tickets.”
The Young Ambassadors Club is a group of 200 children between 1-18 years of age. One out of three has a chronic condition or has been hospitalized. Their average age is about 8. “These young champions have chosen to invite their family and friends to make a donation in honour of their birthday or special occasion,” Pizzuco says. Four years ago Cameron was diagnosed with Strabismus, a muscular eye condition affecting vision, commonly known as Crossed Eyes. The grade 2 student has been under the care of Dr. Khan at the Children’s. “I had an operation on my eye. It helped me. I want to help other people,” Cameron says. She is recovering nicely from her surgery and no longer has to wear an eye patch Mom Chanel Nolan says. Cameron has donated her birthday money two years in a row on top of the money raised by her own special fundraising efforts.
“Once they are ready to deliver their cheques, we invite them to a cheque presentation,” Pizzuco says. The prop cheque is then posted on the group’s website and the children and their families are encouraged to share it on Facebook. “We recognize and thank the Young Ambassadors by hosting an event in the spring.” The event includes fun activities like a magic show, puppet show, photo booth, arts and crafts and of course loot bags! This spring the Foundation prepared a booklet explaining how the donations were used to help patients and listed all the names of the Young Ambassadors. “We also included a badge we encourage them to wear on their school bags so that their friends could ask about our program,” Pizzuco says.
Cameron’s mother Chanel, stepfather Michael, grandfather (Papa) Don, great aunt Claire and great uncleTony were all there to cheer for Cameron at the cheque presentation ceremony at the Children’s Hospital at the Glen. Cameron’s father Anthony couldn’t be there because of work commitments but the family was in contact with him during the ceremony sending pictures. “We’re looking into a website for Cameron. She would like to have a lemonade stand this summer and put the earnings towards next year’s donation,” Nolan says. “She likes that the raffle is around her birthday and looks forward to doing it again next year when she turns 9.”
The Young Ambassadors Club encourages kids to think about asking for a donation on special occasions like a Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah. This approach obviously works because in 2016 the group raised a whopping $260,000. However, as the saying goes, it really is the thought that counts. “We want to emphasize that any occasion is an occasion to help sick kids get better and that the best gift is the gift of a long, healthy life,” Pizzuco says.