When 21-year-old Haley Kwan heard about the remains of 215 children found in a mass grave at a former Kamloops residential school she felt a lot of emotions.
Kwan really wanted to do something about it when she heard about an advocate, Jana Wilson, who was doing a 215 km charity run.
“I told her I want to get involved and I wanted to start my own run with my brother and since then it’s been crazy how much support I got,” Kwan said. “It’s helped my own personal feelings, but also the people in the community acknowledge that residential schools were a big part of our history.”
Kwan, who lives in St. Paul, started a GoFundMe for Canadian Feed The Children with a goal of raising $500. Along with her brother Treston Moisey, they settled on running a total of 215 km to raise funds before the end of June.
One thing she wasn’t expecting was the support would come so quickly.
“I posted the GoFundMe at 8 p.m. and I remember going to bed and my mom woke me at 7 a.m. and was like, ‘Haley, you’re at $700’ and it was the best feeling,” said Kwan.
As of Sunday afternoon, her GoFundMe total sat at $1,985.
Kwan’s mother is the principal at Ecole Mallaig School and when she told staff what was happening not only did they donate, but they’re also operating a lemonade stand to help support the run.
“It was very heartwarming,” said Kwan.
Kwan and her brother did the math and concluded they would need to run 8 km a day to meet their goal. Some days they would split the kilometres between them and on other days Kwan runs the full 8 km herself rain or shine.
“We’re hoping to get done by National Indigenous Day (June 21), if not then by the end of June,” Kwan said.
Running is very important to Kwan as it connects her to her Indigenous culture. She’s also competed in the Alberta Indigenous Games on the Treaty 6 women’s volleyball team.
Canadian Feed The Children is a relief charity that supports the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, which Kwan says is close to home.