Winnipeg teens raise funds to replace headphones for classmate living with autism
Published Tuesday, May 2, 2017 5:04PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, May 2, 2017 5:41PM CST
A pair of lost headphones has helped unite a Winnipeg teen living with autism and his classmates.
Gavin Ramsay, a grade 11 student at Dakota Collegiate, lost his pricey headphones a few weeks ago. Ramsay has autism, and relies on music to help manage everyday stresses.
“It can help me focus and after something stressful, it can help me regain that balance,” he said.
His classmates at Dakota Collegiate searched for the missing item, but found nothing.
However, the loss struck a chord with grade 9 student Abigail Puddicombe, who didn’t even know Ramsay at the time.
"I know what it's like to lose something really important to you, so I just wanted to make him feel better,” she said.
About 65 kids raised nearly $300 to replace the headphones.
Once Ramsay’s drama teacher Tracy Sewell found out Ramsay’s 17th birthday was coming up, she got her students to jump into action.
“(My students) spent their lunch hour shopping. They brought it to me, we wrapped it up, I wrote everyone’s name on the card,” Sewell said. “We just kind of got it all together as quick as we could.”
Ramsay’s drama class surprised him with a new pair of his former headphones, nearly $100 in cash and some of his favourite snacks.
“I was utterly speechless, almost in tears,” Ramsay said.
His classmates were equally touched.
“I definitely teared up when he opened his present,” said Elizabeth Hawash, a grade 11 student who helped shop for the gift.
“The way he reacted was really awesome, and I think we all really enjoyed it,” said Logan Goolcharan, another student who helped with fundraising.
For Ramsay, the present was about more than the gift of music.
“I never felt like I was in my own group, so to just see how many people support me really felt humbling,” he said.