Owen Krigolson still wants to be a ninja.
His blue-striped tie from The Prostate Centre bounces with vigour as he kicks the air.
But back in November, the six year old karate student willingly, and surprisingly, backtracked on his birthday wish.
“It was after the (sixth) birthday party when Owen told me he wanted to change his wish from being a ninja to raise money for Poppa’s cancer,” said Owen’s mom, Carrie Ferguson.
Seven months later and Owen is regularly handling rather large sums of money for a kid in Grade 1, all while knowing he’ll be giving it away. He’s about $2,500 into a fundraising campaign on Poppa’s behalf, all going to The Prostate Centre.
“I was in tears when Owen said that,” said Owen’s grandfather, “Poppa” Dave Ferguson. “I don’t even know where he got the idea start fundraising.”
Dave, 67, is a retired teacher who worked at Braefoot, Campus View and Frank Hobbs elementary schools, and Monterey middle school. He was diagnosed with inoperable prostate cancer a year-and-a-half ago, and is doing well, as he’s currently on hormone treatments.
“I’m still in awe at what Owen is doing,” Dave said. “It snowballed from his birthday to Christmas, Valentine’s and Easter. The money just keeps coming in, sometimes with a present or sometimes instead of one. I harken back to how Jeneece Edroff started. It’s unlikely to match what Edroff has done but it’s mushroomed to something big in its own way.”
Owen has already surpassed his Father’s Day goal of raising $2,000. Carrie now thinks he will hit $3,000 by Sunday.
“Then I’ll keep going!” Owen says.
In between eating rice cakes and winking at his Poppa, playful Owen shows off a $126 donation from his classmates in Ms. Paul’s Division 12 class at Campus View elementary.
Then he opens his mail: a Superman card from an admirer in Esquimalt who heard about Owen’s philanthropic endeavour.
“I am inspired by the Super job you’ve done,” reads the notes, which includes a $20 bill.
“Wow, we don’t even know this person,” Dave says. “This is what it’s coming to now.”
Leanne Kopp, director of The Prostate Centre, says they’ve never seen someone as spirited as Owen take up the cause.
“Owen is the first of his kind, and as a six year old, to make such a difference, it’s wonderful,” Kopp said. “Hand in hand we couldn’t ask for anything more.”
The Prostate Centre marks Father’s Day with its Do it for Dads Walk/Run fundraiser on Sunday (June 15). The event features an 8-kilometre run, a 3-km run and a 3-km family walk.
The Walk/Run happens at 10 a.m. at Royal Roads University.
To sponsor a participant (like Owen) or to register for the event, visit theprostatecentre.org/get-involved/fathers-day-run/.