What started as a plan to give back for the care she received as a toddler, has grown into an annual fundraising event for the Alberta Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton. When Tylynn Hollingshead, a Grade 12 student at Sexsmith Secondary School, was just three years old she received a liver transplant as a result of Crigler-Najjar syndrome, a rare genetic condition.
Since she was 12 years old, she’s been giving back through school fundraisers and other events. This year, as she celebrated the 14th anniversary of her successful surgery, Hollingshead planned an event that included barrel racing and pole bending, along with a silent auction and dinner. Through the auction, dinner tickets, entry fees, and additional donations, Hollingshead raised $24,270 for the Children’s Hospital. “It feels good to help children who just want to go outside. I am forever thankful to the Stollery for what they’ve done for me and I think those kids should have the same chances I was given.”
Hollingshead is now a first year heavy duty mechanic apprentice, and competes in high school rodeo. The staff at Sexsmith Secondary School say they couldn’t be any prouder of Hollingshead and all the hard work she puts into her events. Christine Hartman, a teacher at Sexsmith Secondary School, says it’s been a joy seeing her ambitions to fundraise for the Stollery grow over the years; from a count-the-jelly-beans-jar to large scale events. “Her dedication to give back to the Stollery specifically, even as a young junior high student, has always been heartening. It was quite a delight, and even a cultural experience to go to Teepee Creek and see the events that surrounded the Jackpot. Tylynn did an exceptional job and it was inspiring to see it all put together by someone so young. She truly is incredible.”
Hollingshead sends out a big thank you to the community for all the support, “These events wouldn’t be possible without the amazing people who help organize and donate their time and services”. A special thank you goes to Lyons Production Centre in Teepee Creek for donating the venue for this year’s event.