Money is the new birthday present for kids, or so it seems in Prince Rupert.
Yet, some of these children aren’t asking for money for themselves, they are requesting money — in lieu of gifts — to donate for the sake of others.
This past Christmas, the Prince Rupert Wildlife Rehab Shelter received a donation from a young brother and sister. It came at a time when Nancy Golinia struggled keeping up with the daily duties of running the shelter after her husband, Gunther, was recovering from blood poisoning in his leg.
Chris McWilliam brought his children to meet Nancy so they could donate the $300 they had collected in birthday money. Back in October, 11-year-old Piper said to her father that she didn’t want anything for her birthday and requested people give her money instead to donate to the wildlife shelter.
McWilliam said his response to his daughter was, “You want money but you don’t want to keep it? Of course you can do that.”
Following in his big sister’s footsteps, seven-year-old Chase, who also had a birthday in October, asked for money to donate.
The family decided to drop the donation off before Christmas and were pleased with the great little tour that Nancy gave them of the eagles, owls and cats.
“Both my kids want to volunteer there,” McWilliam said. “It kind of makes me a proud dad.”
More recently, another young girl, Peyton Edwards, asked for money with the intention of donating to the BC Children’s Hospital.
Her mother, Candice, asked her daughter what she wanted for her birthday on Jan. 6.
“Christmas just happened. I would be greedy if I asked for a gift,” was Peyton’s response.
She wanted to donate to the children’s hospital because her baby brother, Lachlan, has a congenital heart disorder and spent the first three months of his life in the hospital.
“He was in the hospital numerous times having numerous heart surgeries, and we used the hospital and the Ronald McDonald House for an extensive amount of time,” Candice said.
Lachlan has a pacemaker and will likely use the hospital’s services until he’s 18-years-old. His twin brother, Markus, doesn’t have the same condition and Peyton can’t wait to tell both of them when they’re a little older what she did for them on her seventh birthday.
Peyton raised $760 on her birthday but as the story of her generosity spread around town other people have dropped off more money and the donation has grown to $1,020.
“It exceeded our expectations,” Candice said, who was thrilled with her daughter’s act of kindness for her younger brother.
The smile on Peyton’s face when she tells her story is infectious and other students listening to her story on the playground confessed they want to do the same thing on their birthday.