STEADY BROOK — Just a day after running a half-marathon to aid the children of Haiti, Heidi Perry was already thinking about next year.
The 11-year-old from Steady Brook ran 21 kilometres around the streets of her hometown Sunday, a feat which took her just two hours and one minute. She also ran 10 kilometres last year to raise money for the impoverished Caribbean nation.
After raising $1,200 this year to go along with the $800 she raised last year, she said she would like to make the event an annual one.
“I want to make it something that more people start to do so we can raise more money for Haiti,” Perry said Monday.
Already devastated by a massive earthquake in 2010, an event which has left some 370,000 people still living in emergency shelters, Haiti met the full brunt of hurricane Sandy as it worked its way out of the Caribbean and up the eastern seaboard of the United States over the weekend. According to published reports, the destruction left in the wake of the hurricane had killed 51 Haitians as of Monday afternoon.
The daughter of Robert Perry and Tracey Hogan, Perry first became aware of the plight of the people of Haiti through her neighbour Elaine Huxter, who’s sister-in-law Karen Huxter runs a school and orphanage called Hands Across the Sea in the Haitian community of Deschappelles.
After looking at photos of the poverty and devastation, the Grade 6 student at Humber Elementary decided to do her part to help out.
“I went door to door and asked if people would like to sponsor,” she said. “Everyone was really generous.”
In addition to the donations, the people of Steady Brook also helped cheer her on as she did the 19 laps around her block in order to make up the 21 kilometres. She said her mother also ran most of the way with her and some friends and supporters also joined her for a few laps.
A member of her school’s cross-country running team, she said while she also runs occasionally on the weekends, she was fairly tired by the time she completed the half- marathon.
Despite her tender years, Perry knows how fortunate she is to have been raised in a community and country with so many advantages compared to children in Haiti.
“I feel very lucky that we don’t get that kind of weather and stuff,” she said. “I’m hoping this money gives the children in Haiti some hope.”