The community has rallied once again around a North Grenville family in need. It all started when Tasha VanDasselaar’s 7-year-old son, Noah, wanted to hold a lemonade stand with his friends. Tasha decided that she would help with the sale, as long as the money went to a good cause. “We wanted them to understand that it’s important to raise money for something other than their next toy,” Tasha said.
She had heard about an eight-year-old boy named Navin Maharaj, who was recently diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Noah played hockey with him a couple years ago and, although they didn’t know the family well, she thought they would be a great recipient for the proceeds of the lemonade stand. “I know the family could use the support,” Tasha says. She reached out to other parents and community members and found an outpouring of support. “It really hit home with a lot of families and parents”.
In just two weeks, the lemonade stand turned into a full fundraising event, complete with a BBQ lunch, bake sale, games, musical entertainment and, of course, a juice stand. “[Noah] is very excited about [fundraising],” Tasha says. “Even when he finds a quarter on the ground, he says it goes to Navin.” Noah’s friends, Kahlaan Wilkes,8, and Mederic Lebeau, 8, were also very excited to help out.
Tasha began reaching out to the business community and says she got a lot of positive response and support. In the end, she was able to secure more than 40 sponsors for the event. “A lot of people are concerned and care,” she says.
The fundraiser was held on Saturday in South Gower Park. It was a beautiful day and all the kids were very excited to raise money to help Navin and his family. “He has to drive to CHEO and it’s far,” said Kahlaan, when asked why he wanted to raise money for Navin. “We want to help him be better,” added Noah.
Despite being in the emergency room the night before, Navin and his family were able to come and have some fun at the event on Saturday morning. “It’s overwhelming, but good overwhelming,” says Navin’s mother, Melinda Mclellan, “It shows that the community really cares.”
The fundraising will not stop now that Saturday’s event is over. There is still a gofundme page under Navin’s ALL Fight which is around a quarter of the way to its $10,000 goal. Tasha says they plan on making bracelets in Navin’s name to be sold during the hockey season, and there is the possibility of a local author writing a children’s book based on his story.