There was more than one surprise last week when Keira McKenzie visited the fire hall to accept a cheque for her fundraising campaign to help send burn victims to camp.
The 11-year-old, a burn survivor herself, thought she was going to get $100 from the Chilliwack Firefighters Charitable Society. Instead she was handed an oversized novelty cheque for $5,000 (the official cheque will be given to Keira at a later date).
Her mother Terresa McKenzie knew about the $5,000, but was surprised, along with Keira, to see the Chilliwack Fire Department hand over an additional separate cheque for $1,000 — this one was the real deal.
Keira has been raising money for two months so other young burn victims can experience Burn Camp, a summer camp created by the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters Burn Fund, which she went to last year. It costs $2,900 to send one kid to camp.
Lieut. Greg Zutter heard about Keira’s fundraising efforts and, as a Burn Fund representative, wanted to help out.
“We did the funnest things,” Keira said about Burn Camp. “I want more kids to be able to come because every year not every kid who wants to go, gets to go.”
Before receiving the $6,000 from the Chilliwack Fire Department, she had already raised more than $3,000 through school fundraisers, by donating her birthday money, and by asking friends and family members to help out.
Her initial goal was to raise $1,000. Now that she’s far surpassed that, she’ll be able to send at least three kids to camp.
On March 7, she got a personal tour of the Chilliwack Fire Department at Hall 1. She tried on fire gear, sat in a fire truck, saw all the equipment they use, and timed a firefighter to see how long it took him to put on all his turnout gear (an impressive one minute and 19 seconds).
In the end, Keira was met with another surprise. Zutter gave her a Chilliwack Fire Department T-shirt, some calendars, and a dalmatian stuffed animal.
To donate to Keira’s GoFundMe account, go to www.gofundme.com/keiras-fundraiser-for-burn-survivors.