Super fund-raisers meet one of their heroes

Rick Hansen greets a couple of his biggest fans as he retraces his path of glory

Hannah (left) and Maya Cudney are nearing their $5

Hannah (left) and Maya Cudney are nearing their $5

Nanoose Bay is  helping fundraising stars Maya and Hannah Cudney reach $5,000 for the Rick Hansen Foundation.

Maya, a 10-year-old, Grade 5 student at Nanoose Bay Elementary (NBES) has been making and selling Hope Rope bracelets since Grade 1 and was nominated by her principal as a medal bearer for the 25th anniversary Rick Hansen relay across the country, ending May 22.

When Maya and her sister Hannah met Hansen in Victoria recently, Maya was invited to walk with Hansen. Maya said she was thrilled to meet one of her heroes and she presented him with a special Hope Rope.

The relay retraces the final 12,000 kilometres of Hansen’s historic 40,000 km trip around the world, raising over $26 million for spinal cord research.

Maya’s mother Maureen said NBES principal  Steve Hamilton and secretary Colleen Barnatt have been key supporters.

“Nanoose Bay has been absolutely phenomenal, it’s become such a community project,” she said.

Maya was inspired by her grandfather’s battle with cancer to start the Hope Ropes when she was six, to raise money for the B.C. Cancer Foundation. They have since raised over $15,000, including money for other groups like the food bank and Mayan Families, which has earned Maya recognition through things like a Save-on-Foods Amazing Kids scholarship. Maya’s efforts have inspired other schools in District 69 and Nanaimo.

Hope Ropes can be purchased, or donations made to the Rick Hansen Foundation through Maya’s website at www.hoperope.ca.

The hand-crafted, limited edition bracelets in Hansen’s colours of yellow and black are also available at the Nanoose Bay school office for $10.