Malaria Bites gets help from local teen

008In this edition of Auora Kid, I interviewed Maria Fustic who fundraised for the Canadian Red Cross to buy malaria nets for people in Africa.

Maria, tell me a little bit about yourself.

I’m 15 years old and I’m in grade 10. When I was 13 years old, I was inspired by my dad’s trips and stories to go to Africa and climb Mount Kilimanjaro, but I decided I wanted to do more than just climb a mountain for the adrenilin rush, but for a charity. So I chose Malaria Bites because malaria kills so many people in Africa a day.  I raised over $16,000 dollars and I am still fundraising to reach my goal of $19,340.

What is the history of your project?

Like I said earlier, my dad and I would always go on these crazy trips and it was always a good time. My dad has some friends that have actually climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and would always talk about it.  I just got the idea from them and I said to my dad let’s do this, this is awesome. At first he was really worried that we have to get all these vaccines for Africa and the size of the big mountain.   We just started planning it and before we knew it, we were there and on the mountain.

What have you been doing to fundraise?

Well, we’ve been sending out mass emails to people just saying what I am doing, my story and why I’m doing it. Also I did TedX Fort McMurray and I pretty much talked about everything. People are amazing in this city. After I finished speaking, I got this donation from a random person I had no idea who it was.  I walked out and someone handed me a $100 bill.   Everyone here is so nice, they have been donating and the radio stations have interviewed me, and Shaw TV. Once someone finds out about an amazing story someone has done, they keep spreading it around.

How much money do you hope to raise for this project?


When did you first start fundraising?

Well, it wasn’t too long before we went to Kilimanjaro, probably 2 or 3 months and I’m still fundraising now. Also I’ve been face painting a lot but that doesn’t give you big money. Before we went, we told big companies about it and that we could carry a big sign to the top of Kili. They give us a donation and it’s an advertising thing. We did that for Snow White Productions here and a couple companies from Calgary.

Will you stop at your goal you set, or will you continue fundraising?

I think $19,340 is a good goal, but if I get more donations then I will take them.

Do you have any more goals in mind?

Not really right now, but I kinda want to do a big project like that again because it’s a fun experience and that you know you’re helping people.

Are there any projects you would like do in the future?

Definitely in the future but not right now, because I just want to focus on school.

What did you do besides climb the mountain and who came with you?

My dad and me went together and we went on safari for two weeks and we met some good people. I met a girl my age and we had a lot of fun together. We went to the Serengeti, to see lions. It was fun.

How much money have you raised so far?

I have raised $16,990 dollars.


If you would like to donate to her cause or get more information, visit this website and if you know of any kids doing amazing things around the community, please contact me on twitter @TheLegoFly or at my gmail