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Mountain Elementary in Abbotsford raises over $8,300 for Ronald McDonald House

Grade 2 student fighting cancer inspires students and teachers to support charity for McHappy Day

Mountain Elementary School celebrated raising almost $8,400 for Ronald McDonald House on McHappy Day with an assembly and picnic lunch on Friday (May 10).

The initiative was all started in honour of Dhruv Agnihotri, a Grade 2 student at the school, who was diagnosed with lymphoma in October. Dhruv and his family have stayed at Ronald McDonald House BC and Yukon while he has been fighting cancer at BC Children’s Hospital.

The family has sold their business in the midst of his treatment, and Dhruv’s grandparents have flown in from India to help care for the rest of the family. Dhruv’s younger sister is in kindergarten at Mountain Elementary.

Immediately after Dhruv’s diagnosis, the school staff wanted to do something to help. Jane Bartlett, Dhruv’s teacher, has still made him very much involved in the classroom. His classmates have made him joke books and engaged in FaceTime calls.

Bartlett visited Dhruv in December. She experienced the comfort Ronald McDonald House provides to children and families while they are going through some of the most difficult moments of their lives.

“If you know how beautiful it is for these families, people would realize how important it is,” Bartlett said.

When the annual McHappy Day charity event came around, the staff at Mountain Elementary knew exactly what they wanted to do.

It began with staff purchasing McHappy Day socks, and it quickly grew into a unique fundraiser that also involved the students.

Bartlett partnered with McDonald’s on Whatcom Road for the community-wide initiative. Students brought in money to buy a Happy Meal in support of McHappy Day. Beyond that, the money continued to pour in, in other ways.

“As teachers and staff, we saw kids coming in with a quarter from their piggy bank, we saw kids come in with some bills, and we saw some giant bills,” said kindergarten teacher Heather Gray.

Children also reached out to their extended family, parents made donations online and some wrote cheques for the Sky is the Limit campaign.

The grand total of $8,363.72 was revealed to the students at an assembly. The Whatcom Road McDonald’s location provided the purchased Happy Meals for the students to enjoy out in the sunshine with friends and family.

Despite enduring difficult times, Dhruv’s family wanted all the money to be donated to Ronald McDonald House in recognition of the support they have received.

Dhruv’s journey in conjunction with McHappy Day has made a lasting impact on the staff and students at Mountain Elementary. Above all, it has taught them an important lesson.

“We just hope to be grateful for the small things,” Bartlett said.

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About the Author: Ryleigh Mulvihill

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