At 11 years old, Kalliana King, a Muscular Dystrophy Canada volunteer, is the youngest to receive a 2012 Governor General’s Caring Canadian award during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on April 17, 2012. When Kalliana was eight years old she made a goal to raise $500 for Muscular Dystrophy Canada in honour of her friend, Adam Sohye, by dyeing her hair pink and then promising to shave her hair off if she made her goal. Kalli’s dedication and spirit inspired the community, and she ended up raising over $14,000! Read ahead for a behind the scenes look at Kalli’s experience as one of only 28 volunteers to receive the award.
April 17, 2012:
10:00 a.m.: Kalli and her mom gather with her fellow award winners at their hotel to board a bus headed to Rideau Hall. Kalli was the youngest winner in 2012, and she met many nice people from acrossCanada on this journey.
11:00 a.m.: After arriving at Rideau Hall, Kalli hung out with her parents before being ushered into a waiting room where she and the other award winners were given instructions on how to receive their awards. One older lady in particular took an interest in Kalli & said she’d look after her if Kalli was feeling nervous. Kalli told this kind lady she wasn’t nervous and asked the lady if she was nervous. After a short conversation Kalli told the lady not to worry, and to just be herself. The lady then burst into tears at the display of confidence Kalli showed at such a young age. After the directions were given and quickly practiced, the orchestra started to play and Kalli headed into the ceremony room.
11:30 a.m.: Kalliana was a mix of emotions—feeling both nervous and really excited—as she waited to be announced. When Kalli’s name was called, she stood and walked toward Governor General David Johnston and his wife then Kalli stood to his right side and was handed her award. Kalli and Governor General Johnston were meant to shake hands to end the exchange, but he ended by giving her a big old hug instead.
12:30 p.m.: Following the ceremony, Kalliana taped a video interview and posed for a group photo with her fellow award winners before enjoying a reception with lots of delicious goodies. Kalli and her family also went on a tour of Rideau Hall, which included stops that are usually restricted to visitors. Kalli was able to visit the ground’s greenhouse and most of the rooms inside.
2:30 p.m.: After the excitement of the ceremony, the real fun began. Kalli got to change out of her ceremony dress, which sounded like a big relief for her. The Kings met up with Kalli’s cousin and headed to Ottawa’s Byward Market to eat at Hard Rock Café and enjoy homemade ice cream fromSugarMountain. Kalli’s family then headed for an afternoon tour of Ottawa including pubs, which Kalli doesn’t get a chance to do at home inCowichan Bay, BC.
The fun continued after award day as Kalli was in Ottawa for five days, her first time in our nation’s capital, and got to explore some of the museums, including the War Museum (which was special to her as her dad is in the Navy) and the Museum of Nature. The biggest surprise came when Kalli, her mom, dad and brother, were arriving to the airport at home close to midnight. Kalli’s grandpa was expected there to pick them up, but Adam Sohye and his whole family had also come to welcome Kalli home and show her how proud they are of her accomplishments. Kalli and her family are dedicated participants of the Mesachie Lake Group Baseball Tournament every year, which supports Muscular Dystrophy Canada, and she creates a new idea of something to sell every year in order to continue raising funds for the cause she cares deeply about.