Each time six-year-old Tess Wilton uses her library card, she is reminded of the final steps in her marathon fund-raising effort.

The youngster, from the Hillhurst community of Calgary, raised more than $400 in pledges from family and friends after successfully running 42 kilometers last summer.

Tess was adamant the money raised should go towards helping animals and families, so the proceeds were split between the Calgary Public Library and the Alberta Wilderness Association.

With the money donated to the Library Tess received her own, personalized library card bearing an image of her completing the last two-kilometer segment of her charitable journey.

Her proud mom, Jan Althea Ooi, said the youngster started slowly but once she was halfway through the marathon distance she started to run almost every day.

“She started with a loop of 500 meters that we had measured and she would do that twice to reach a kilometer. Then she built up from there,” said Jan.

Tess, who has an older and younger brother, made her own decision about donating money to the library.

“She wanted to raise money for two organizations—one to help families and one to help animals. She didn’t decide right away exactly which ones they’d be, but thought about them during the summer and then she came up with it herself that the one to help families would be the Library,” said Jan.

The family, who use the Louise Riley Library, often joined Tess running.

“It ended up being a family project as well because she needed someone to run with her wherever she went,” said her mom.

– Story by Chris Nelson

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