Skip to main content

'I was proud': Edmonton girl runs 8 days to raise thousands for humanitarian relief

An Edmonton girl ran for more than a week to raise money for humanitarian aid. 

Ten-year-old Zeher Assaf ran the last five kilometres of a 40-kilometre run Sunday, raising more than $16,000 for Islamic Relief Canada.

"I thought it was pretty sad to see lots of children and babies dying. So that's what motivated me," Assaf said.

At the beginning of the month, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry estimated that more than 3,600 children had been killed in the first 25 days of war.

To help raise money for relief efforts, Assaf decided to run 40 kilometres – equivalent to the length of the Gaza Strip.

"I was pretty shocked," said Giselle Jomha, Assaf's mother.

While she wasn't sure at first if her daughter's goal was realistic, Jomha said she soon believed.

"She is pretty determined," Jomha added. "She's like, 'I could do it.'"

Assaf ran the distance in 5-kilometre stretches over eight consecutive days.

If the weather was bad, she ran indoors. If she didn't have time during the day, her mother said she'd be out running at 11 p.m. to make sure she hit her goal.

Sunday was the last day, and Assaf crossed the finish line in front of dozens of family members, friends and members of the community.

"I was proud and I was excited to see them all there supporting me," Assaf said, adding she's a bit relieved to know her mission is complete.

"Now my legs get a break," she said.

Assaf finished the 40 kilometres having raised 80 per cent of her $20,000 goal. While she's done running for now, she is still collecting donations.

Jomha said if her daughter can hit her financial goal, her family will donate an additional $5,000. 

She said she wants to keep helping, but doesn't have any specific plans for her next event.

"We're gonna keep talking about it and we're gonna keep holding the flag," Jomha said. "Until there's a ceasefire, until the occupation ends, we're not going to stop." Top Stories

Stay Connected