St. Albert student is a great kid
Carter Shields receives provincial honour for fundraising efforts
By: Kevin Ma
| Posted: Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 02:30 pm
Carter Shields is a great kid. You’d have to be one in order to raise $6,000 for heart and stroke research in one summer.
He didn’t think he’d reach even half that amount, the St. Albert resident and École Marie Poburan student said Monday.
“I was blown away when we reached $3,000. I had a really hard time believing it when we reached $6,000,” he said.
Shields, 12, was one of 16 Alberta youths recognized at the Edmonton Fantasyland Hotel Sunday as part of the 13th annual Great Kids Awards. The awards recognize community leadership amongst youth, and are administered by Alberta Human Services.
Teacher Christina MacKinnon of École Marie Poburan nominated Shields for the award because of his attitude in school and his efforts last summer to raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Great kids show courage, compassion, determination and generosity, MacKinnon said – traits that describe Shields to a T.
“His attitude is amazing and very positive,” she said. “Even through hardship, he comes out ahead of others.”
When he was eight,Shields lost his mother Shelley to a ruptured aneurysm following a series of strokes.
“It was very hard getting used to not having a mother in my life,” he said.
It’s an experience that no one deserves to go through, he said, yet they do.
“I felt it was terrible, and I felt something needed to be done, so I took action.”
After seeing an ad for a cancer research fundraiser, Shields got the idea to do a cycling marathon to raise money for research, explained his father Stuart.
“He started talking about riding from here to Regina,” Stuart said, but he convinced his son to shorten it to 100 kilometres between Lake Louise and Canmore.
With the help of local banker and family friend Rhonda Romaniuk, Shields organized the Helping Hearts One Pedal at a Time campaign to raise money for heart and stroke research in his mother’s name. Donations poured in from as far away as Australia, as well as from a coin drive held at his school’s triathlon. The campaign racked up about $6,000 in just three months.
Shields and his family set off on their ride from Lake Louise at about 9:30 a.m. last Aug. 11. Riding conditions were great, Shields said, up until the last bit where they were riding into the wind.
When he came to the final stretch at about 4 p.m., Shields said he was surprised to see that his family had raced ahead of him to set up a finish line. Everyone cheered as he cycled through a celebratory banner to finish his ride, hands held high.
Shelley Shields was a massive champion for social justice and empowering youth, Stuart said, and would have been incredibly proud of Carter’s actions. If she were still around, he said, there’s no doubt that she would have been cheering him at the finish line, saying, “That’s my kid!”
As part of his award, Shields received an IBM laptop and free passes to West Edmonton Mall’s Galaxyland and water park.
MacKinnon says she plans to do a school display on Shields to inspire others to be great kids.
“I know that we have some leaders-to-be in this school,” she said, “and it just takes someone like Carter to show (them) it’s possible.”