Congratulations to Erin Pelé, 2020’s winner

“Life is too short to be negative”, says Erin Pelé, a Grade 10 student at Charles Spencer High School in Grande Prairie AB, and the 2020 winner of the Stacey Levitt Memorial Award. Erin, diagnosed in fall 2018 with leukaemia, has made it her mission to educate and to fundraise for childhood cancer research, sharing her journey with local elementary schools.

Dawna Baird, an academic advisor at Charles Spencer High School, says Erin, despite undergoing intensive chemotherapy, “never asks, ‘Why me?’ Instead, she asks the question, ‘What can I do to make this better?’ “ While she wanted to play competitive volleyball, she was unable to do so and volunteered instead to referee her high school team’s games.

Pelé, 16, has maintained a 91-per-cent academic average despite missing 40 per cent of her classes in Grade 9 due to her cancer treatments. She has volunteered with many community and school organizations, including:

  • Kids for Cancer fundraiser
  • Terry Fox Run
  • Stollery Hospital
  • Maverick Movement Club for social justice projects

“We were struck by Erin’s courage and tenacity in battling cancer while at the same time working to be a role model for others. During this terrible pandemic, the world needs more people like Erin.”

Ned Levitt, former board director, Parachute, and father to the late Stacey Levitt

About the award

The Stacey Levitt Memorial Award was created in memory and celebration of Stacey’s life by her family through Parachute. Each year beginning in November, high school students from across Canada can apply for this award.

This award encourages Canadian youth to embody Stacey’s qualities and ideals and Parachute’s overarching goals of a long life lived to the fullest, understanding the importance of risk management and injury prevention.

Applications close at end of February and the Levitt family awards each year’s selected recipient $2,500 to help them live their life to the fullest. The award could be put toward:

  • An educational endeavour
  • Engagement in sports
  • Investment in a travel experience

These pursuits would have resonated with Stacey, who loved school, sports and travel.

The successful recipient also receives a copy of Stacey’s book of poetry, I Am a Rose: A Life in Poetry, published by her family in 1996 after her death.  

Stacey Levitt Memorial Award recipients

2020 – Erin Pelé, Grande Prairie AB
2019 – Rachelle Clark, Abbotsford, BC
2018 – Kate Walsh, Bedford, NS
2017 – Jenicca Jean, Upper Queensbury, NB. 
2016 – Thomas Semychyshyn, Winnipeg, MB
2015 – Kennedy Neumann, Burnaby, BC
2014 – Melissa Tiggert, Toronto, ON

About Stacey Levitt

Picture of Stacey Levitt

Stacey Levitt was born May 19, 1977 at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital. She attended Allenby Public School, Glenview Senior Public School and Northern Secondary School. Stacey had a wide variety of interests and lived a busy and active life while growing up in North Toronto with her family – her parents Ned and Cheryl, her sisters Marni and Jacqueline, and many very special and close friends.

On Aug. 30, 1995, 18-year-old Stacey was struck and killed by a driver of a motor vehicle while jogging in her Toronto neighbourhood.