by Brandon Mayer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
In September of 2019, a young local girl’s family began a mission to collect pop can tabs to raise money in her name, and the result of this “Mission for Mya” has become nothing less than spectacular. Mya Jackson is now 13 years old, and has been undergoing treatment for years for a disease called Neurofibromatosis. She currently has over 30 tumours, which grow on her nerves as a consequence of the disease, specifically the NF2 subtype, in which the tumours grow internally. Mya’s tumours are mostly on her brain and spine, causing losses of vision, hearing, and mobility.
Two-and-a-half years ago, Mya’s family began collecting pop can tabs at their business, Krown Kemptville, in the hopes of raising money. Aluminum has a value of approximately 40 cents per pound, and, since it is free and takes virtually no time to pull the tab off of a pop can and drop it in a bin, it is an easy way for people to donate to a cause. Now, the overwhelming support for Mya from the community has been shown by the almost 5 million pop can tabs which have been collected since 2019.
Mya’s mother, Tanya Lamarche, sees her daughter’s strength every day. “She’s doing her 50th treatment next week on the 7th anniversary of her brain surgery in Montreal, and has been doing treatment for three years,” Tanya told the Times. “NF2 is different in all cases, so it’s hard to know what to expect.”
The collection of nearly 5 million pop can tabs is nothing short of astounding. The Guinness world record for the most pop can tabs donated in one year is just under 2.8 million, set by a hospital in Puerto Rico. While Mya’s family collected their tabs over a longer period, the sheer number of tabs collected is still an incredible feat. The Guinness record for the largest collection of pop can tabs (regardless of how long it took to collect them) was set in the USA in 2012 by a man who raised over 22 million tabs as a fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House.
When asked whether an attempt to beat the world record was a possibility for their family, Tanya answered, “We are still going strong, and will continue to collect.”
A question that remains is where the money will go when the millions of tabs are recycled. The family would like to donate the tabs collected for Mya to NF2 BioSolutions, a non-profit organization which uses 100% of proceeds for Neurofibromatosis research. The disease has no cure, so funding research is important for Mya’s family. Referring to NF2 BioSolutions, Tanya said “They are a team of amazing doctors and researchers from all over the world, unlike any other that pulled together to find a cure.”
Anyone with tabs to give can drop them off at Krown Kemptville. Mya’s story can be followed on her Facebook group, Mission for Mya, at www.facebook.com/groups/1705361626354831