February 7, 2019 3:04 pm
Updated: February 7, 2019 8:27 pm

New Brunswick students pull together to buy classmate a new wheelchair

A group of students in the small village of Memeramcook, N.B., have proven that if you have a big heart and want to help a friend, you really can achieve big goals. Shelley Steeves has that story.

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A group of students at École Abbey-Landry in Memramcook, N.B. has worked together over the last year to help a classmate get a new wheelchair.

“They really rallied up together and made it happen,” said Danika LeBlanc, the mother of eight-year-old Destiny LeBlanc, a student with special needs at the school.

Destiny was born with Rett Syndrome, a rare neurological condition. She is unable to speak and uses a wheelchair to get around the school with the help of an educational assistant.

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In January 2018, the students discovered that Destiny was outgrowing her wheelchair and it was causing her pain, so they wanted to step up to help.

Linda LeBlanc, who teaches the Grade 1 and 2 class, says their plan at first was to collect enough pull tabs from aluminum cans to raise $500 for Destiny.

“Kids being kids, they wanted to do more and more,” said the teacher, who encouraged her students to go from class to class to ask other students in the school to participate in the tab collection.

Linda LeBlanc says some of the parents posted their fundraising efforts to social media and “it vent viral.”

“People were sending us tabs from all across the province” she said.

She says cash donations, as well as buckets and bags of pull tabs started pouring into the school.

By January 2019, they had a collection of roughly 13 million pull tabs — enough to stretch from one end of the province to the next, and enough cash to outright buy Destiny’s $10,000 wheelchair.

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Destiny’s classmate Madison Legere says they did it because “she is special to us kids in this class.”

Destiny may be unable to express her gratitude in words, but her mother says she smiles and the kicks from her new comfy wheelchair delivered last week just says it all.

“To see that and have her relax is really nice,” her mom said.

Their teacher is proud of the students’ efforts and says Destiny is one of the most popular students at the school.

“They just love being around her. They really do have a friendship with her. They have a connection with her,” she said.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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