When Noe Martinez, owner of Mexican restaurant Hay Caramba on Holland Street West, learned about Mason Donkin’s story and the Walk for Chiari fundraiser in Bradford, he knew he wanted to help support it.
Donkin was diagnosed with a rare brain condition called Chiari malformation in 2017, when he was five years old. Four years ago, Donkin’s mother, Jennifer, began planning an annual walk to help raise money for SickKids Hospital.
When a friend of the Donkin family informed Martinez of the situation, the business owner decided to help by donating 15 per cent of Hay Caramba’s sales from every Wednesday until July 20.
“I love kids and when I see this kid has this disease, it’s touching,” said Martinez. “Kids are kids and, unfortunately, some of them have to deal with tough things. Originally, they wanted to do just one Wednesday, and when I learned the walk was July 23, I said we should do every Wednesday until the walk.”
With the walk just over three weeks away at the Bradford West Gwillimbury Leisure Centre, Martinez is hoping to do everything he can leading up to it to help the family reach its fundraising goal of $50,000. Currently, $39,814 has been raised.
“I have a son who’s 18 and two little kids that are four and two-and-a-half, so to see this young kid and hear about what he’s going through, there’s no words to say how difficult that would be,” he said. “If there’s something I can do to help, then I should. My mom always taught me when you give, you get double.”
Martinez’s sense of community is what drives him to do what he can for those in need. He’s known for his generosity, including the time he fed local firefighters after a fire in the area last year.
“Chipping in is always good. I always love to help out,” he said. “I’ve gone through a lot, and it’s taught me that we have to help each other. Bradford is a really supportive town and that’s how we made it through the pandemic.”
To donate or learn more about Donkin’s story, click here.