The Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) has kicked off its annual fundraising campaign and paid a visit to Walmart’s Yellowknife location on April 28 to do it.

There was also a special guest to show people how their donations make a difference.

Elijah Faraschuk-Sarumowa, a 14-year-old from Edmonton, was on hand to share his story about having three open-heart surgeries at Stollery Children’s Hospital in the Alberta capital. Faraschuk-Sarumowa is a CMN Champion Child for 2023; Champion Childs are the ambassadors for CMN’s cause and are chosen by CMN member hospitals as a remarkable child to serve as their champion. They spend the year advocating for the support of children’s hospitals across Canada.

Faraschuk-Sarumowa had his first surgery when he was eight month-old due to Tetralogy of Fallot. It’s a type of congenital heart defect with four specific characteristics: pulmonary stenosis, a ventricular septal defect, right ventricular hypertrophy and an overriding aorta. His first surgery took place when he was eight months old, followed by a second one in 2015, and the last one in April 2020.

“My very first two surgeries were open-heart,” he said. “It was really stressful — some parts of it hurt, but the doctors were helping me during the surgries, and that make me feel safe. The third one is better and much more easier, and quicker.”

For all the kids who were facing difficulty, he had a message:

“You have help behind your back and you have people supporting you, so just keep on going,” he said.

After he spoke in Yellowknife, Faraschuk-Sarumowa will visit other Walmart stores to share his story.

Terry Andre, the store manager of Walmart Yellowknife, said that CMN is the largest charity Walmart Canada raises money for.

The reason CMN chose to visit the Yellowknife store is because during the last 12 months, it had became the top-raising store in the chain.

“I’m really proud,” said Andre. “Running this store and living in Yellowknife for the past 14 years, it’s a honour to be recognized for this (and) also a honour for this family to come and see Yellowknife, though this store is pretty far away from any other stores.”

Walmart Yellowknife had raised a total of $75,000 during last year, which was 200 per cent of its goal.

Kaicheng Xin

Kaicheng Xin is a Multimedia Journalist with NNSL Media. You can reach him at

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