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Teen cancer victim’s legacy lives on to help other children

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Bonnie Stevenson

It’s been almost four years since Reanna Pyne held her first fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Sarnia. Next month, her latest will set sail aboard the Duc d’Orleans.

Reanna’s Float For Hope will raise money to grant the big wish of a local boy named Justin, whose request is to visit Hawaii with his family.

Reanna passed away in November of 2014, but the Sarnia teen’s legacy lives on, thanks to parents Denise and Paul D’Eon, physiotherapist Kevin VanReenen, Coffee Culture owner Eric Parsons and many other businesses, groups and individuals.

“Working with Reanna was an inspiration. She touched my heart,” VanReenen said. “Now we can take that same inspiration and use it to help other children realize their most precious wish.”

Reanna’s own wish was to visit her ancestral home of Ireland.

“We didn’t think they’d send the whole family but they sent all of us,” said mom Denise D’Eon.

And after they returned, Reanna decided to help other children who, like her, had received a terminal diagnosis.

The inaugural Reanna’s Cycle of Hope was held in June of 2014 and raised nearly $10,000 for two charities: St. Joseph’s Hospice, where she was living, and Make-A-Wish.

“I’m honoured to help keep up Reanna’s dream,” D’Eon said. “She was such a loving, caring, giving girl. We’re carrying on the way she would have if she was still alive.”

Diagnosed at the age of 14 with a terminal brain tumour, Reanna responded to the news with a fighter’s spirit that has since made wishes come true for other local children.

Some $22,000 was raised the first three years, with Make-A-Wish Southwestern Ontario receiving $5,000 each year. Three $1,000 scholarships have also been awarded to students at SCITS, the school Reanna attended.

This year, all proceeds from the Float For Hope will go to Make-A-Wish and, as instructed by Reanna, the money will only be used to grant wishes here in Sarnia-Lambton.



WHAT: Reanna’s Float For Hope

WHERE: Duc d’Orleans cruise ship, 297 Front St. N.

WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 7, at 7 p.m.

OTHER: Live music by Jimmy Lehey and The Session In The Corner Band

TICKETS: $30, available at Body Balance Health and Physiotherapy Inc., 1315 Michigan Avenue and at both Coffee Culture locations in Sarnia.

Bonnie Stevenson is a freelance journalist, communication consultant, and author of two books in the Bootjack Mary series.





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