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Chilliwack Boy’s Act of Kindness

Extraordinary People, Ways to Give |

Jessica Peters
March 12, 2015
The Chilliwack Progress
Image Credit: Jenna Hauck/PROGRESS

Nine-year-old Layne Erskine is the newest member of Team Canuck Place, thanks to his fundraising concept that earned $375 for the hospice.

His early leap into philanthropy was initiated by a classroom lesson, at Yarrow elementary. Just before Christmas, Layne’s Grade 3 teacher brought out the book Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed. The story illustrates how one girl’s act of kindness causes a ripple effect that reaches all the way around the world, making the world a better place.

“After reading the story, I sent my students out on a mission to perform various random acts of kindness around the community,” said teacher Christine Blessin. “These were quite amazing in themselves but the whole project must have had an even bigger impact on Layne because he decided to go one step further.”

Layne decided to make bracelets — tons of bracelets — and sell them in his mom’s home-based hair salon. The money, he thought, could go to the place were he and his brother spend so much of their time, Canuck Place. Layne’s fraternal twin brother, Nate, is confined to a wheelchair due to an extremely rare hereditary disorder, hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy type 2.

Both boys have spent immeasurable hours at the hospice, one as a patient, the other as a companion.

His extraordinary efforts added up to a donation of $375. Selling at $2 a piece (and often with an extra donation), they flew out of the salon quickly. Thankfully, Layne produces his stock quickly and efficiently.

“At the beginning it took about 30 minutes but now it’s about 15 minutes,” the boys’ mom, Annette Erskine says.

“It takes longer if I’m watching cartoons,” Layne adds. He has a loom, but is just learning to master using it. He prefers to use pencils, or just his fingers, to weave the rubber band bracelets together, mixing and matching colours to create different effects. By far the most popular colour combo are those that represent the Canucks, but Layne is happy to create custom bracelets.

He watches for his mom’s customers, at her salon behind their Yarrow home. Despite being somewhat reserved, Layne summons up the courage and heads into the salon with his sales pitch.

The whole project has pulled the tight-knit family even closer. His nana bought some of the supplies, one of his older brothers created a poster for advertising, and close family friends have made bracelets to donate to the cause.

His efforts have been posted on the Canucks Place website and published in their most recent newsletter. When the boys arrived at the Canuck Place to drop off the donation, they were greeted enthusiastically by staff.

Layne’s not sure how many more bracelets he will make, but he has no plans to stop yet. Nate’s condition keeps the family pretty close to home. A nurse comes in every day except Sunday, allowing Erskine to either take a nap or get some work done.

The mother of five boys, Erskine said having Nate in their lives has taught them all to be caretakers.

“They’re so good,” she said of her children. “All of them are so good. We weren’t like that, but you become that way.”

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