This article has been amended since first posting.
Two West Vancouver boys are demonstrating their compassion and their fundraising savvy after collecting thousands of dollars in just a few short days to help a family in need.
Seven-year-old Jonathan Yeung is a student at Collingwood School and Quinn Lester-Coe, also seven, goes to Eagle Harbour Montessori. The friends were roused to action after learning about two young sisters facing difficult life circumstances.
Quinn’s family are longtime friends of the Lazar family. The sisters, ages 14 and 16, lost their older brother to suicide in 2015. Shortly after, their mother Danica, who is raising the girls on her own, was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease. Danica, who used to work at Hollyburn Country Club, had brain surgery last month to remove a tumour in hopes of reversing the disease. She is now recovering, but unable to work.
The teen girls had been staying with Quinn’s family, but recently returned to their new home in Port Alberni.
“When the girls left it was bittersweet because they’re going back home to this town where they have no friends, where they’re going to be caring for their mom who’s still in really rough shape and has a long recovery ahead,” says Quinn’s mother Jenn Coe.
Quinn wanted to raise money so the girls could participate in extracurricular activities like sports and music, and access tutoring and counselling services. So he recruited his friend Jonathan who, despite not knowing the Lazar family personally, didn’t hesitate to help.
“Jonathan was the first to donate. He emptied half his piggy bank and gave the girls $140 of his savings without a thought,” says Jenn.
The boys and their parents met last Friday to work out details of the fundraising campaign and it gained momentum quickly.
“On the Saturday they started pounding the pavement and bringing in donations and two days later they had raised 75 per cent of their target of twenty grand,” Jenn says.
The boys set up an online crowdfunding page and have been working their contacts to drum up donations. Their goal is to raise $20,000 by Christmas Eve. As of the North Shore News’ deadline, they had well surpassed the $19,000 mark.
“It’s just an incredible heartwarming story and almost seems unprecedented what the boys have done for their age so quickly,” Jenn says.
At the rate they’re going, the boys might wrap up their campaign early so the sisters may access the funds before Christmas.
“It’ll be going into a trust and anything extra that’s not sports or counselling or tutoring or related supplies will go towards their post-secondary education so they have some long-term goals to look forward to too,” Jenn says.
For more information, or to donate, visit gofundme.com/kidshelpingkidsalways.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to remove the names of the Lazar sisters from an earlier version. This was at the request of the youths, who did not give permission to be named.