Mayor Jim Watson, with Kanata South Ward Councillor Allan Hubley, today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Emily Tieu for her outstanding charity fundraising and dedicated volunteer work in the community.

At 14 years old, Emily has raised more than $74,000 for research for sialidosis a rare enzyme disorder affecting children. There is no treatment and it so rare that only one known child in Canada, Tyler Huneault, is battling it.

In April 2005, when Emily was seven years old, she became aware of Tyler’s illness and that he is the only child in Canada suffering with the disease and began the first of a series of garage sales and fundraisers. In that first year, Emily raised $91. In 2006, she held her second annual garage sale and raised $150. In 2007 she raised $2,600 and in 2008 Emily held her fourth sale and raised $4,060. In subsequent years, donations and fundraising proceeds have flowed in and so far Emily has raised more than $74,000.

The only research being conducted on this disorder is at McMaster University by biology professor Dr. Suleiman Igdoura. All proceeds raised at Emily’s garage sales go to McMaster University to fund sialidosis research. Dr. Igdoura’s research team is working on a gene therapy that will replace the defective gene in sialidosis sufferers.

Emily impresses all those around her positive energy and highly developed social conscience. Her desire to help others, her caring, positive attitude, and her generosity with her free time serves as an example to her peers and an inspiration in her Bridlewood community. She also volunteers with Valerie’s Flutter Foundation, a charity that raises awareness for all types of cancers, especially rare types that lack funds.