Last year, Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Elementary School in Richmond Hill helped to raise more than $120,000 CAD for a surgery to help their classmate walk again.

Athena Roy was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was less than a year old. Since then, the ten-year-old has undergone physio and occupational therapy, bracing and serial casting. When her mother, Fiona Santos, found out about an exclusive surgery in the United States that could give her daughter a more mobile and accessible life, she started a Go Fund Me page to help offset the $120,000 price tag.

Athena’s school community knew they needed to step in to help make their classmate’s dream a reality.

“We thought, we’re going to make this happen. Why don’t we dedicate all our charity initiatives to Athena?’” said Mary Punzo, Senior Secretary at Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Elementary School. “What more could we ask for than to see Athena walk again?”

Faculty, family, friends and students all pitched in by holding bake sales, selling student-made bracelets and hosting frequent movie and music nights.

Their hard work paid off. The school came together and raised a large majority of the necessary funds. The surgery has given Athena a gift so many of us often take for granted. Since the surgery in October, 2017, Athena has made tremendous progress, using a walker and wheelchair daily, hoping to one day eliminate both.

Stories like these are just one example of the excellence happening each day in Ontario’s Catholic schools.

Celebrate outstanding school communities like Our Lady Help of Christians and share this story today.