When Sean Thomas organized the year-end meeting for Kids Can Help, he had a surprise or two in store for members and their parents.
One was to reveal just how much KCH has raised this year, and the other was a visit from Fin, the Vancouver Canucks mascot.
Then the sports club had a surprise for Thomas and his team of young boys — centre Manny Malhotra.
There were smiles and cheers when Malhotra attended the meeting and celebration of KCH at the Blair Recreation Centre on May 29.
Ten-year-old Sean started the charity when he was only seven, spurred by the desire to help youngsters at B.C. Children’s Hospital.
“The first year of the KCH program I distributed cans to my friends and family (and) 100 per cent of the money raised went to my program,” he said.
In that year, he and his friends raised $1,500.
“The second year of the KCH program was really exciting because so many kids were starting to believe in the KCH program, so I started the KCH team. Everyone worked so hard distributing cans,” Sean said.
He recorded a CD called Your Love and added a mascot called Can Man. One hundred per cent of proceeds went to KCH which raised $2,500 in its second year.
With the enthusiasm of 25 children and Can Man, the third year of KCH included a talent show, bottle drive, garage sale, car wash, coin drive, and a donation from Slater Vecchio, a law firm in Vancouver. Their employees had a coin drive and raised more than $2,752 which the company matched
“Then we had to increase our goal to $10,000,” Sean said.
“Everyone worked so hard and we even surpassed our goal and raised $15,300.01.”
“I feel so lucky there are so many awesome kids who believe in the KCH program and they want to help the kids at the B.C. Children’s Hospital,” he said.
“Through the KCH program I met so many people who inspire me. One special person was an 11-year-old girl named Samantha Mantyka. Samantha had brain and spinal cancer. She was so brave and always had a smile on her face.”
She died on July 31, 2011.
Some of the Kids Can Help team have needed the B.C. Children’s Hospital “and I think kids are very lucky to have such an amazing hospital,” he said.
Besides Sean and Can Man Kevin Kotai, the Kids Can Help team members are Erin McPhail, David McPhail, Jacob Sol, Alex Sol, Mathew Baines, Madison Baines, Meredith Willows, Tenaya Trowell, Tamzen Trowell, Sarah Flitton, Joseph Flitton, Megan Bakker, James Bakker, Joon Hwang, Hayley Smith, Devon Holcroft, Dawson Kroeger, Avalon Kroeger, Amy Dewolff, Alivia Bourget, Yilian Zhao, Matthew Marshall and Miranda Chyzzy.
Malhotra shook hands with every member and later signed autographs and handed out team photos. He called Sean “unbelievably mature and charismatic.”
Has he ever seen someone so young achieve so much?
“I’ve got to say no,” Malhotra said.
That Sean would initiate something so big at the age of seven speaks to his selflessness, he said.
“He’s far beyond his years.”
The children’s next big event, after the June 2 Miracle Weekend Telethon appearance, is taking part in the Resound School of Music’s outdoor recitals at Douglas Park Spirit Square on June 23. Sean is a student of the school which offers in-the-home classes.
The KCH team will be having a candy/cookies/drink sale, silent auction, and face painting to start off its 2012-2013 fundraising season.