Nine-year-old gives up birthday party for CIBC Run for a Cure


By Joel Charron

All Austin Gillis wanted for his ninth birthday is to help someone in need.

The St. Jean the Baptists Grade 4 student spent his birthday taking part in the CIBC’s Run for the Cure, a breast cancer fundraiser held in Windsor this past Sunday.

Gillis said he was asked by his mother’s cousin to take part in the event.

“When my mom asked me if I wanted to do this I said yes right away,” said Gillis.

Gillis’ mother Serena Koehl said she was surprised that her son was so quick to participant in the event, especially as the Run for the Cure falls on his birthday.

“I was really surprised. I really didn’t think he would go for it,” said Koehl. “We’ve always done great things on his birthday, I didn’t think he would want to give that up.”


Nine-year-old Austin Gills said no to a birthday party to run in the CIBC Run for the Cure this past Sunday.

Koehl said she and Gillis’ father Nathan have always taught their children that helping others is important in life.

“I’m extremely proud of him,” said Nathan.

Gillis noted his grandmother and great aunt survived breast cancer and he was inserted on a team with other family members to walk on their behalf, including Koehl and six-year-old sister Delaney.

Gillis had to raise a minimum of $40 but the newly turned nine year-old has raised over $1,000.

He said he had approached everyone from family members to neighbours for donations.  He noted that his largest donation of $100 came from his mother’s boss Julie Roy.

Participants had the option of doing a 1K course or a 5K course.

“I’m going to do the 1K and if I’m not too tried I will try the 5K,” said Gillis.

Turned out Gillis has enough energy as he tackled the 5K run with ease.

Gillis said raising money of the Run for the Cure has really made him happy.

“I’m helping other people, not just me,” he said.

After the run Koehl and Gillis said they treated him to his favorite meal, “Endless Shrimp” at Red Lobster.

“He deserves it, I’m just so proud of him,” said Koehl.

One response to “Nine-year-old gives up birthday party for CIBC Run for a Cure”

  1. Meaghan says:

    AWH! This is so amazing! Good for him ! Amherstburg has some great people!