Even through her own suffering, Reanna Pyne always wanted to lift others.
“She was always very considerate; wanting to give back,” said Denise D’Eon, mother of the late Sarnia teen whose battle with terminal cancer inspired a community.
During treatments for a brain stem tumour Pyne — a former SCITS student — developed back fractures, D’Eon explained.
“So her physiotherapist told her the best thing was to get up and walk. She started entering charity walks, raising money for causes like cancer.
“She felt so great giving back,” D’Eon added. “But she was disappointed that there wasn’t a lot out there for people with brain tumours, and childhood cancer.”
That’s when Kevin VanReenen had an idea. The local physiotherapist, who worked with Pyne, wanted to launch a new fundraiser in her name — and the teen was thrilled.
The inaugural Reanna’s Cycle of Hope was held in June 2014, raising nearly $10,000 for two charities: St. Joseph’s Hospice, where Pyne was a resident, and Make-A-Wish, an organization that helped send her on a dream trip to Ireland.
In turn, the money from Reanna’s event helped send a five-year-old Sarnia boy battling a rare form of cancer to Disneyland with his family.
Though very ill, Pyne was able to attend the event, which drew about 100 participants. She passed away last November at age17.
In June, a tree planting ceremony was held at SCITS in Pyne’s memory — a blue spruce representing her favourite colour, blue, and favourite time of year, Christmas. In December of 2012 hundreds of people showed up at the family’s Sarnia doorstep on Christmas Eve to sing carols, in hopes to lift the dying teen’s spirits.
“Reanna got to see that the first year was such a huge success,” D’Eon said. “We are hoping this year is even better.”
The second annual Reanna’s Cycle of Hope will be held Sept. 12 on the Howard Watson Trail. A walk/run course has been added as well.
This year’s proceeds will benefit Make-A-Wish, to help a child in southwestern Ontario. In addition, money from the charity barbecue and prize table at the event will help create a scholarship at SCITS.
“Before she passed away, Reanna wanted a scholarship, specifically in the sciences,” D’Eon said, pointing to this year’s recipients, Brynne Kennedy and Sophie Stasyna.
“This is her way of giving back.”
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Reanna’s Cycle of Hope 2015
WHEN: Sept. 12, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
WHERE: Routes will start at the Galla Dev’s Soccer Club of Sarnia (Behind the Dante Club on London Road)
DETAILS: Visit www.reannascycleofhope.com for registration and sponsorship information