A 12-year-old Hammond elementary student was awarded the youth ambassador award at the 50th annual Variety Red Heart Awards Celebration on Wednesday.
Brayden Grozdanich has been volunteering with the Children’s Charity after Variety replaced the adaptive bike that was stolen from him during the Thanksgiving weekend last year.
Brayden has cerebral palsy and it’s difficult for him to get around on a regular bike.
After his bike was stolen, through several donors, Variety was at Brayden’s door with a new adaptive bike, said Donnie Gordon, director of marketing and communication with the charity.
“It was six months later when Brayden enthusiastically accepted our request to be the youth ambassador… for our inaugural Variety Mobility Day on June 5… a day to celebrate accessibility and inclusiveness while raising money to provide equipment for children with mobility challenges,” Gordon explained.
Brayden was invited to the Grand Villa Casino Hotel and Conference Centre in Burnaby, where he was presented the award by Howard Blank, Variety president and chief barker.
“Brayden couldn’t have had a bigger smile on his face when he was given a standing ovation as his father helped him on stage to accept his award,” said Gordon. “It really was a magical night for an amazing young boy who has overcome many challenges in his 12 years.”
Also present at the awards was the Variety volunteer who first heard about Brayden’s stolen bike and decided he would make some phone calls about how the charity could help.
“From sitting and talking to the family, I think they were quite pleased,” said Eric Phillips. “That bicycle means everything to him because I have seen him out riding it around.”
There were 19 recipients recognized at the annual event, who were honoured in 12 categories for their devotion to making a positive impact.