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pennyIf we think too hard about fundraising it can seem like an incredibly daunting task.  $500, $1000 – the amounts seem huge and hard to imagine raising, especially if we have never really fundraised before.  The reality is, with commitment, heart and a little effort small amounts become large VERY quickly!  I never fail to be amazed by the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy participants who bring in many pledge sheets filled line by line with $5 and $10 donations that add up to that single participant raising well over the hundreds and even thousand dollar marks.

I’ve had the pleasure of spending hours with Fire Fighters as they hold out their boots, collecting ashtrays full of coin – pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters along with the coveted loonies and toonies.  I’ve also had the pleasure of helping to count and roll these coins that in one person’s ashtray seem to have such little value, but when gathered together in a boot become an amazing and wonderful amount of money – they add up to a pair of orthotics, or a comfy seating system for a wheelchair, a scooter, a bed and special mattress, or even a machine that can help someone breathe.

Recently I attended a silent auction event held by grade 11 students at Tofield High School, in support of Muscular Dystrophy Canada.  Students wrote a piece of creative writing centered around a “significant object”, and then auctioned off their writing.  I purchased a wonderful poem written by one of the students, Ryan Lehman, called Canadian Penny, that he has graciously allowed me to share on our blog.  Thank you Ryan!  I thought it would be a good way to remember that even pennies have value.  Can you imagine if that last penny you threw in a Fire Fighter’s boot, or donated to a Walk participant, was THE last penny that paid for funding the research that led to the discovery of a cure?

Canadian Penny

I am the Canadian Penny.

I have seen it all.

 From vending machines to concessions,

From small corner stores to humongous shopping malls,

From diners to elegant restaurants,

And even from leave a penny, to take a penny.

I have traveled all across the country; I have seen many faces and many places,

I was used to purchase food, used to purchase furniture, used to flick at friends.


My uses were endless until that tragic day.

The day they said I cost too much, that I was more trouble than I was worth

The day they said that I was no longer useful and they would turn all pennies back into their “precious metal”

And that I would become extinct one day.

The day that I was cast aside,

The day my fate was decided


No more travelling, no more sightseeing

No more vending machines, no more concessions

No more diners, no more restaurants

No more corner stores, no more shopping malls

And no more leave a penny, no more take a penny.

My uses are gone.


I was cast aside without a second though, all my deeds forgotten.

On the pavement I lay, discarded and trodden on

Nobody wants me, nobody needs me.

Darkness envelops me, a sad… lonely… depressing darkness,

One that I am now forced to endure,

Because I am all alone.

I am the Canadian Penny.


“Hey what is that?”

“Looks like a coin of some sort.”

“Oh my gosh a lucky penny!!!! “

“You’re going to carry that germ ridden coin around?”

“Yeah, it is the Canadian penny; I am going to carry it everywhere for good luck.”

Terri Tumack is a Fundraising and Community Development Coordinator in Alberta and Northwest Territories.

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