Richland Academy has a long standing relationship with the charity Meagan’s Walk, supporting paediatric brain tumour research, and last week we were fortunate enough to attend a Crane Ceremony at The Hospital for Sick Children to launch this year’s Walk. The audience included families of children with brain tumours, internationally celebrated Paediatric Oncologists, and students from around the GTA.
It was an incredibly moving ceremony that included a speech from a mother and her four year old son Hugh, who had just completed his last round of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour nearly a year ago. She described the overwhelming support their family had received at Sick Kids, and the reassurance she felt through Meagan’s Walk – she knew Hugh was not fighting his battle alone. There were a number of other speakers, including a surgeon, a young brain tumour survivor, and Meagan’s mom, Denise Bebenek. Meagan Bebenek was diagnosed with an inoperable cancerous brain stem tumour and lost her battle at the age of five, but her legacy continues. The message was clear and powerful, together we can make a difference.
The Crane Ceremony honours a Japanese tradition of giving a thousand paper cranes, or Senbazuru. An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane, such as long life or recovery from illness or injury. During the Crane Ceremony rows of students, including Richland Ambassador representatives, presented paper cranes to a group of young patients. We were humbled to be part of the ceremony, and could not help but be inspired by the tremendous courage of these young people and their families.
The mission of Meagan’s Walk is to share the message of hope, to increase public awareness about brain tumours and the devastating effects they have on children and their families, and to raise valuable financial resources for research into paediatric brain tumours. To date, Meagan’s Walk has raised over 2.4 million dollars.
The students, staff and families of Richland Academy will be participating in their Annual Meagan’s Walk this May, to let these brave young boys and girls know we’re there for them.