The kid who turns himself ‘upside down’ to help others was on the receiving end of the equation this week.
Four years ago Help Fill A Dream donated a new bike to Andrei Marti, shortly after he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. At the time he was five.
During the recent spate of bike theft in Victoria, however, Marti’s bike was stolen. Actually, he had two bikes stolen. One was his BMX he had also been gifted and the other his everyday bike.
As a result, he was distraught. To cheer him up, his mother took him to Flying Squirrel Trampoline Park. That’s where Alex Campbell, an owner at Flying Squirrel, surprised him. Having met, and seen, what Marti has been up to – raising $20,000 for Help Fill A Dream and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation since he was 6 – Campbell took to action.
On Saturday, Marti thought he was in trouble when he was whisked into the Flying Squirrel office.
“They told me I did a ‘gainer’ [a forward moving backflip], something you’re not allowed to do,” Marti said. “I can’t really do a backflip but I thought I did something wrong.”
Instead, he was surprised with a brand new, baby blue BMX.
“I didn’t even look at it,” Marti said as he received the bike. “I looked at the manager. I am so thankful they did that. Biking is one of my favourite things, if not my favourite.”
@HelpFillADream gave Andrei Marti, 10, a bike when he was 5 & supported his family. Since then he raised $10K for @HelpFillADream. This month he had two bikes stolen. So Flying Squirrel bought him a new one. (Santa giving him a bike in 2015). pic.twitter.com/EJyM86zexY
— travisApaterson (@TravisAPaterson) August 29, 2019
Over the years Campbell has given Marti a few passes to the trampoline park and he couldn’t stomach something that could possibly deter Marti.
“We wanted to hook him up for such an outstanding outlook he has on the world,” Campbell said. “We had provided some trampoline passes to reward his positive, good nature, when we heard his bikes were stolen. That got our wheels spinning.”
Marti has already ridden the bike at a skate park. He rides it to summer camp and around his property.”
Through the first years of his diagnosis, Marti and his family were heavily supported by Help Fill A Dream, with the organization helping to cover his $400 a month in medical expenses, and, in addition to the bike, sent him on a one-day adventure to Disneyland.
Marti can bust a solid handstand and he uses the upside down shtick a regular busking downtown. He’s been so successful in raising money, he’s twice been awarded the Youth in Philanthropy award on National Philanthropy Day (2017 and 2018), for ages 5 to 10.
On Aug. 11 he did what he’s been doing for years now, busking on Government. Marti raised $1,300 for Help Fill A Dream in less than one hour through some bigger ticket donations.
“We can’t have someone like that moving backwards when he’s so overwhelmingly positive,” Campbell said. |It made sense to buy him a bike to re-instill all the great things he does will come back to him.”
Marti’s movement has caught on and other kids who have been supported by Help Fill A Dream are also paying it forward for other Island children with life-threatening medical conditions. Marti is joined by Aurora (6), Braiden (19), Seth (13), Emma (14) and twins Asher and Nolan (9), in raising $14,482 that they will present at the Golf For Kids tournament on Sept. 7.
They hope to raise more than $25,000. For more information visit helpfilladream.com/pay-it-forward or call 250-382-3135.