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Teens organize fund-raiser for girl who needs surgery

Surgery will cost $110,000 for Elin Valk, shown here with the machine that helps her breathe.

Surgery will cost $110,000 for Elin Valk, shown here with the machine that helps her breathe.

Sarah Foote (left) and Marissa Medema are organizing a fun soccer tournament as a fund-raiser for a young girl awaiting surgery.

Sarah Foote (left) and Marissa Medema are organizing a fun soccer tournament as a fund-raiser for a young girl awaiting surgery.

Two Fort Macleod teens got a kick out of the two weeks they spent this summer with the FACES program.
Now Sarah Foote and Marissa Medema want Fort Macleod families to help a young girl put the boot to her health problems.
Fourteen-year-old Sarah and 15-year-old Marissa are organizing a family soccer tournament as a fund-raiser in support of a young girl’s life-altering surgery.
Elin Valk has spent all but seven of her 23-month lifetime in hospital undergoing treatment for serious conditions.
Elin, who lives in the Netherlands and whose father is a friend of the Medema family, has the rare genetic disease larynx cleft, which is the separation of the trachea and esophagus.
Elin also has tracheabronchomalacle, a condition that prevents her trachea from staying open when she breathes.
Elin is scheduled for surgery that will correct the conditions and improve her life, but the procedure in a Swiss hospital will cost about $110,000.
Enter Sarah, Marissa and the FACES program.
FACES (Facilitating Awareness Character building Exercises for Students) is a program developed in Livingstone Range School Division to assist students in Grades 9, 10 or 11 who want help with peer relationships, self-esteem issues and coping skills.
The FACES program’s goal is to utilize the outdoor environment to teach personal development and personal relationship concepts and skills.
FACES 15 teaches students to become more self-aware and practice character-building principles through activities such as community building activities, outdoor experiences (canoeing, rock climbing), creative exploration and critical reflection.
Students work from a work book, keep a personal journal and create goal statements.
FACES 25 helps students apply the principles learned in the first course to various areas of life.
Sarah and Marissa, who took part in FACES earlier this summer, decided to create a fund-raiser for Elin as their community service project.
“She’s so young and she has so many problems,” Marissa said of Elin, who requires a complex machine in order to breath.
Sarah agreed.
“She’s not even two years old and she’s spent most of her life in hospital,” Sarah said. “She has a chance at surgery that might change all that.”
Sarah and Marissa, who are both going into Grade 10 at F.P. Walshe school, are organizing a soccer tournament for Monday, Sept. 7 at the fields just off 12th Street in Fort Macleod.
The $50 team registration fee includes lunch and a minimum number of games that depends on the number of teams that sign up.
Teams of five will play 30-minute games, with players of all ages welcome. Families are encouraged to enter as teams.
Teams will be matched against others of similar age and skill levels, with an emphasis on participation and fun.
“Soccer is my favourite sport,” Marissa said of choosing the beautiful game for the fund-raiser. “And it is the world’s most popular sport.”
Registration is accepted at elinsoccerfundraiser@gmail.com or by calling the Medemas at 403-553-4963. Donations are also welcome.
Information about Elin Valk is at www.stichtinggeefomelin.nl

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