A Fraser-Valley wide bottle drive has shifted focus after the family that was to benefit has chosen not to participate.
Empties for Angels, lead by Star FM and supported by multiple businesses and organizations, will carry on this weekend. All proceeds from the bottle drive will be given to the BC Children’s Hospital’s oncology department, which treats children with cancer.
Drop off points are organized in Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Hope, with a special event taking place at the Chilliwack drop off. Anyone wanting to help the cause can drop their donations off (in the form of cash donations or their refundable empties) at Prospera Centre on Saturday, March 3, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will be set up in the south parking lot.
The day will include a special live performance by Andrew Christopher, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The singer/songwriter’s young daughter Lilee-Jean passed away in September, 2013 at the age of two. She had a brain tumour, and her parents shared LJ’s story with the world to help fundraise for Children’s Hospital, to help find an eventual cure and to help families and patients through their experiences at the hospital.
The young boy who was originally the focus of Empties for Angels, Kaiden, is only four years old. His mother Brittany Panter told The Progress that after some negative reactions from people following a previous story about her son’s health, she didn’t want to be a part of any campaigns. She also did not want to share any health information with the media.
A GoFundMe account had been started by a friend of Panter’s, but has also been closed recently, after hitting about $5,000.
Star FM has stated “Kaiden’s family has decided that they have the means to move forward alone and would like proceeds of this drive to go to the Oncology Department as BC Children’s Hospital. This is a way to give back to the people who helped him and so other kids in his situation can continue to receive the quality care that he did.”
However, the fundraiser will go on. In addition to Chilliwack’s event at Prospera, there is a drop off in Abbotsford at Terry Fox elementary school, and in Mission at Mission Raceway Park. For people in the three communities who cannot get their empties to the drop off locations, pick ups can be arranged through Star FM at www.starfm.com.