Tysen’s Mission to a Million

Every once in a while we hear about great kids doing great things. These are the inspiring stories of young entrepreneurs and activists, and can make us stand up and pay attention. But even rarer are the stories about super, awesome, AMAZING kids doing unbelievable things – the kind of things that make us both cry and laugh. That’s how I felt when I started reading about Tysen’s Mission.

When Tysen was born he was diagnosed with Pieffers Syndrom Type 2, and had his first surgery at just nine days old.  Since then he has had more than 20 trips to the OR, at both CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) and Sick Kids in Toronto.  As Tysen’s Mom wrote to me in an email:

“This has never stopped our little man from looking at life in a positive way and wanting to help others.  I know that every mom is proud of their children as they should, but I consider myself extra lucky to be blessed with an amazing kid who reminds us every day that we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff!”

In November of 2012 Make-A-Wish granted Tysen’s wish to meet Adam Sandler.  The trip was game changer for Tysen, and he still dreams of his special day with his man Adam!  When Tysen found out he was going to be granted a wish, he decided he wanted to ‘pay if forward’ and wanted to raise money for Make-a-Wish.  But instead of raising a few thousand dollars, Tysen decided that he wanted to raise 1 million dollars for Make-A-Wish Eastern Ontario – enough money to ensure that 100 other local children get their wish granted.

With help from Make-a-Wish, he  launched Tysen’s Mission to a Million, and has already raised over $190,000. You can follow him and the wishes he adopts on his Facebook page. His first anniversary for this mission is October 29th, and he hopes to reach $200,000 by then!


Want to help Tysen on his mission? Until November 1st, you can donate $5 via text. Simply text “Wish” to 45678, and help him reach 200k!

Science FunFest “Rocks”! (…and minerals, and maps, and insects…)

The Canada Science and Technology Museum is closed for repairs, but your kids can still get their science “fix” at Science Funfest.

Held annually as part of National Science and Technology Week in October, this FREE event features more than 70 interactive activities for your budding young Einstein, with hands on experiences in energy, forestry, mining, geology, mapping, astronomy and agriculture.

Science FunFest

As Funfest veterans, my kids (ages 4 and 8) recommend:

• Bringing in your favourite rocks and fossils for identification
• Mining chocolate chip “ore” from a cookie “mine” (HINT: choose your tools wisely and clean up the mine site for biggest profits!)
• Creating colourful spin art using solar energy
• Seeing glaciers shrink over time in satellite pictures from space
• Getting up close and personal with snakes, bugs, and spiders – (parents may be interested in meeting the Emerald Ash Borer; the invasive insect ravaging Ottawa’s ash trees)
• Jumping up and down to make an earthquake that can be measured by a seismometer
• Spinning the wheel for a skill-testing question in the food safety quiz (…how safe is the food in your lunch box by noon?)
• Trying your hand – and eyes! – at land surveying and star-gazing
• Starting a chemical reaction to make custom-coloured slime to take home

There are plenty of free giveaways at Science Funfest, so make sure you pick up a complementary “swag bag”. Balloons, face-painting, and Natural Resources Canada’s huge green mascot “NRCat” make it fun for even the littlest ones!

Science Funfest takes place rain or shine on Sunday, October 19 from 11am-4pm at Natural Resources Canada’s Booth Street Complex (on the corner of Booth Street and Carling Avenue across from Dow’s Lake). Dress warmly as some activities are outdoors in tents. Parking is free, and there are a few concessions on site.

Have you been to Science Funfest? What’s your favourite activity? Let me know in the comments.

Wendy is a freelance copywriter in Ottawa and a totally unbiased employee of the Earth Sciences Sector at Natural Resources Canada. 

Barbecued Apples

OK, hear me out. I realize summer is over. The temperatures are dropping, and even though I’m clinging desperately to the last of my vegetables, the frost will soon win.

But there’s still time to barbeque before the snow falls! And what’s better in October than freshly picked apples?

barbecued apple

What you need:

4-6 Ontario apples
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp brown sugar (or maple syrup, or honey!)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
icing sugar

Core the top of the apples (you can leave the bottom so the sweet, gooey stuff doesn’t drip out onto your barbecue). In a small bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Place a dab inside each apple. Put the apples on the bbq and cook until the skin is wrinkly – be careful they don’t burn! Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Happy Thanksgiving!