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10-year-old Essex girl sells handmade bracelets for Parkinson’s research

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Like many 10 year olds, Brenna Tonon loves to make Rainbow Loom bracelets – but she doesn’t just make them for fun.

After school, when the weather is nice, Tonor can be found outside her Essex home with a small table.

Weaving the tiny rubber bands into unique pieces of wearable art and selling them to raise money for Parkinson’s research.

“I like making them in different colours and sizes,” she said. “It’s really fun.”

Tonor sells rings for 50 cents, bracelets for $1, or necklaces and fancier bracelets for $2.

Half that money is to replenish her Rainbow Loom inventory, the other half is to be donated to Parkinson Canada.

It’s not a disease that many kids her age even know about, but the cause is close to Tonor’s heart.

“My aunt has it. She had it when she was really young so I want to help her,” she said.

10-year-old Brenna Tonon, seen April 18, 2024, shows off a Rainbow Loom bracelet she made in CTV colours as she raises money for Parkinson’s research. (Travis Fortnum/CTV News Windsor)

According to Parkinson Canada, Tonor’s aunt is one of more than 100,000 people in Canada who live with the disease.

It affects the nervous system and can cause tremors and impact a person’s ability to move – and experts say more and more people are getting it every year.

“We still don't know what causes it. We don't have a cure,” said Karen Lee, president and CEO of Parkinson Canada.

Lee said every dollar donated to the charity helps support those living with Parkinson’s – as well as the research into the disease.

She applauded Tonor for her fundraising efforts – which happen to fall in Parkinson’s Awareness Month.

“To see the youth get involved in philanthropy is really important,” said Lee. “Anybody can build awareness. Regardless of age.”

Tonor said her aunt has told her she’s proud of her for the work she’s doing.

The young girl sets up down the street from Essex Town Hall, with her mom Rebecca posting on social media when she’s out selling her pieces.

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