Bieber fever to benefit Alberta Children’s Hospital
By: John Barlow
| Posted: Friday, Oct 12, 2012 11:43 am
Bieber Fever spread through John Paul II Collegiate in Okotoks last week, but the outbreak could provide some relief to the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary.
Classmates of Sydney Douglas, 13, a student at John Paul II Collegiate, thought Bieber Fever made her go insane when she decided to raffle her tickets to the sold out Justin Bieber concert Oct. 12 at the Pengrowth Saddledome. However, Douglas was not selling the tickets to augment her own bank account, she is donating the proceeds of the raffle, about $800, to the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary.
“I probably could have sold them for a lot of money, but I am fortunate and I want to give back,” said the well-spoken Douglas. “I have a lot of privileges many people don’t have and I was raised that giving back is very important.”
Douglas received the Justin Bieber concert tickets for her birthday earlier this year. When she saw how much tickets were selling for on Kijijii and eBay she realized she could sell her tickets for a hefty sum. However, unlike many others who were scalping their tickets Douglas, who has already been to a Bieber concert, saw an opportunity to help a charity.
Douglas’ mom Paula said she was surprised her daughter hatched such a plan on her own.
“It was mindblowing,” she said. “We always teach our children to do the right thing and do good to others and it will come back to you, but it was weird, in a good way, to see her do this. I am so proud of her.”
The raffle was held for students at John Paul II Collegiate only and to say demand was high would be an understatement. It was not uncommon to see children purchase dozens of tickets in hopes to scoring a chance to see “The Beebs”.
For Douglas, the impact of her decision started to sink in when she and her mother started counting the money in the raffle jar.
“When we were counting up the money she turned to me and said she was feeling misty,” said Paula. “I realized then that she got it. I told her this is supposed to make you feel good.”
Douglas admitted when she realized how much she raised she was overcome with emotion.
“When my mom and I were counting the money I started to feel giddy,” said Douglas. “We had done something good, something right. It is not a lot of money in the long run, but maybe it will help save a life.”
Douglas was not the only one overcome with emotion as a result of the Bieber raffle. One of her classmates is still trying to contain her excitement.
The draw was held on Wednesday and there was a lot of screaming at the Gazdag home when 12-year-old Brooke Gazdag found out her name was drawn.
Still on Friday, the day of the concert, Gazdag was struggling to reign in her excitement.
“I feel like I want to scream,” said Gazdag on Friday morning at school. “When I heard my ticket was drawn I felt like I was going to faint.”
Likewise for her little sister Ava, 7, who Gazdag gave one of the tickets to as an early birthday present.
Winning the Justin Bieber tickets was an added bonus for Gazdag. She asked for $5 from her mom to buy raffle tickets, but also put in $20 of her own money. Although the opportunity to see Justin Bieber was exciting the real inspiration for buying the tickets was an opportunity to help the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
Last year Gazdag’s uncle lived with her for a few months before passing away with cancer. During his many visits to the hospital her uncle was distraught seeing all the children who were also suffering from cancer. As a result, in his last few months the Alberta Children’s Hospital became important to the Gazdag family and at his funeral in lieu of flowers guests were asked to make a donation to the hospital.
Her uncle’s passion for sick children was not lost on his young niece.
“I really wanted to donate the Children’s Hospital and going to the Justin Bieber concert is like getting a two-for-one,” said Gazdag.
Gazdag’s mom Christa said she was moved by the generousity of Douglas.
“This is so selfless on Sydney’s part,” said Christa. “For her to take her tickets and raise money through a raffle and put that money towards just a special cause is pretty impressive.”
For Douglas, she said she hopes her act of kindness will be an inspiration for other young people to get engaged in their community.
“People don’t expect teenagers to do things like this, but doing charity work is important,” she said. “It is important to give back and we can start when we are young. As teens we can do these things, we can.”
And she did.