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This article was published 3/1/2010 (2733 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg's Olympic torch celebrations will end up in the hands of a kid -- but he's not just any kid.
Noah Palansky, 13, has been named Winnipeg's official Olympic torchbearer when the flame hits the city Tuesday. The honour means he will run the last 300 metres of the Winnipeg Olympic relay, lighting the cauldron at The Forks at 7 p.m. and kicking off a community celebration.
Noah is like many youths, in that he loves hockey, radio station Hot-103, animated series The Simpsons and video games. The Grade 8 student from Gray Academy of Jewish Education has a dog named Crosby -- namesake of his mom's favourite hockey player, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins -- and his favourite colour is blue.
One more thing you should know about Noah: In the last two years he's raised more than $60,000 for CancerCare Manitoba.
Mayor Sam Katz, who named Noah the official torchbearer on Nov. 12, called him a bright young man who works hard to accomplish his goals.
"With young people like Noah as our future, we're in good hands," Katz said in a telephone interview.
Noah said the honour is humbling. "It's cool."
Carrying the Olympic torch is just another chapter of the crusade he took on two years ago when his mom, Naomi, was diagnosed with cancer.
"I stayed pretty calm," he said, recalling his initial reaction to his mother's diagnosis. "I knew there was nothing I could do medically to fix this, so I did what I knew I could do."
Just 12 at the time, Noah told his parents he wanted to take part in the Challenge for Life Cancer Walk. They were hesitant at first, because walkers had to raise $1,000 and they weren't sure he could reach that goal in just three weeks before the event.
But Noah proved them wrong.
Within 24 hours, he had sent dozens of emails to friends and family and canvassed door to door in his neighbourhood for donations.
His parents were astounded.
But it didn't stop there.
Within three weeks of signing up for the walk, Noah's fundraising total reached $14,000.
"Being a kid, I've always wanted people to take me seriously," he said. "Kids still have the power to do stuff; we just have to try extra hard 'cause we're kids and people don't think we can do things."
With the help of many supporters -- including Katz, who offered a donation of $180 when they met at a Goldeyes game last year -- Noah's fundraising total continued to soar.
Another person who has joined the cause is Dr. Mark Evans, president and CEO of EISI, a financial planning software company.
Evans, who has two sons playing in Noah's hock ey league, heard about the campaign and offered to personally match the donations dollar for dollar up to $15,000.
Evans' company contributed $5,000.
Noah said he and Dr. Evans have become friends. Evans even sent Noah an autographed jersey of Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, which hangs on the wall of his bedroom over his bed.
For Noah, the most important thing is helping his mom, and people like her, who have been diagnosed with cancer.
"I do this so that people have a better chance of beating that disease," he said. "Hopefully, someone else would do that for my mom."
Noah will be carrying the torch up Waterfront Drive into The Forks on Tuesday.
Want to help?
To make a donation to Noah's campaign, please log on to www.challengeforlife.ca and search for Noah Palansky.