AVA CALDWELL

Little girl with big heart cycles to Comox Valley for cancer patient

Ten-year-old Ava Caldwell rode her bike over 250 kilometres — and raised about $3,000 — to help a friend with cancer.

Ten-year-old Ava Caldwell rode her bike over 250 kilometres — and raised about $3,000 — to help a friend with cancer.

Caldwell is a past École Puntledge Park Elementary student. With the support of her family she rode her bike from Pemberton, B.C. to her old school in Courtenay. She arrived Monday, with her old class at Puntledge joining in for last leg of the journey from Royston.

“It went pretty good,” said Caldwell minutes after arriving at Puntledge. “It’s nice to see my friends again, and to know that I did this for my friend Ruby.”

Caldwell became friends with classmate Ruby Poirier in kindergarten at Puntledge school, and they have been friends ever since.

Poirier was diagnosed with leukemia when she was six years old, and after years of remission, she and her family were told late last year that the cancer had come back.

Caldwell and her family moved to Pemberton around the time that Poirier started going back to Vancouver for treatment. Caldwell has kept in touch with her friend, visiting her in hospital in Vancouver.

“I went to see Ruby in the hospital on her birthday,” Caldwell wrote on her blog over a week ago. “She is still in isolation so all of her presents and treats had to be washed before she could play with them.

“I had to wear a gown to make sure we didn’t bring in any germs so Ruby was protected, after her bone marrow transplant. It was a good visit!”

On Thursday, Caldwell left her home in Pemberton with her brother Alex, who rode the entire way alongside his sister. Ava’s parents Neil Caldwell and Kirsten Ellingson took turns, riding their bikes with the kids and driving the family’s vehicle, throughout the trip.

Ava noted some parts of the trip were fairly tiring, and though her family does plenty of mountain biking and hiking, but this trip was “the biggest bike I’ve done.”

She had some support along the way with fundraising stops at Nesters Market in Whistler and Squamish, according to Neil.

“And then in Squamish we had a whole bunch of other families and kids join us and some rode all the way to Horseshoe Bay,” Neil recalled, noting he and Ellingson organized some of the fundraisers,but Ava came up with the idea for the bike ride and organized much of the trip. “Ava kind of spearheaded the whole thing — she organized it, she made a blog for herself — so it’s been really good for her.”

Neil noted people from as far away as San Francisco have donated money for Poirier and her family via Ava’s blog at www.ridingforuby.blogspot.ca.

“It’s really incredible that kids can have such a powerful impact on families and each other and the community, and just they can do a lot,” said Neil. “They’re way more capable than we give them credit for a lot of times, so it’s pretty neat.”

Ava said she is considering doing another fundraiser because of a girl she met on her trip who told Ava about her two-year-old sister who has cancer.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

Just Posted

Comox residents question redevelopment at emotionally-charged meeting

About 40 people filled the d’Esterre House in response to a community consultation meeting.

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Valley fossil makes it to the top of the provincial list

Courtenay’s elasmosaur will be added to the official Provincial Symbols of British Columbia

New exhibition at Comox art gallery opens Feb. 19

Rainforests to prairie grasslands, a visual road trip at Pearl Ellis Gallery

Comox Valley Chamber looks back on recent achievements

Chamber of Commerce Week Feb. 18-22

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

St. George’s hosts open discussion on Jordan Peterson

Based on the overwhelming response to the January discussion night on Jordan… Continue reading

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

Most Read