Jason Aginsky (photo from Centre for Judaism of the Lower Fraser Valley)
The Centre for Judaism of the Lower Fraser Valley has announced the recipient of its annual Lamplighter Award, which honors a child who has performed an outstanding act of community service.
Jason Aginsky, a 16-year-old Grade 11 student at McMath Secondary in Richmond, was the second-youngest participant in the B.C. Ride to Conquer Cancer in August 2016, when he rode the 250 kilometres from Surrey to Seattle over two days.
“He’d announced eight months earlier that it was a cause he was determined to support and no safety concerns raised by his worried mother could deter him,” said Mark Aginsky, Jason’s father.
Jason was motivated to do this ride after losing his grandmother, Shirley Kramer, to ovarian cancer in 2003, when he was just 3 years old. He joined the Village Idiots, a group of riders in the Steveston area, and, after raising close to $4,000 to support the B.C. Cancer Agency, powered through the race.
“We followed him on Day 1 by car and he was utterly exhausted, on the brink of admitting he’d ‘bitten off more than he could chew’ by participating,” his father recalled. “The winds were against the riders that day and it was hard going. But, when it comes to determination, Jason has it in spades and he pushed through on Day 2, waiting hours at the last stop so he could cross the finish line with other members of the group who were well behind him.”
In total, this year’s participants in the B.C. Ride to Conquer Cancer raised $7.1 million for cancer research.
Jason will receive the Lamplighter Award on Dec. 29 at the Semiahmoo Shopping Centre at a ceremony attended by Rabbi Falik and Simie Schtroks, directors of the Centre for Judaism, White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin, and representatives of the cities of Surrey, White Rock, Langley and Delta.
“Chanukah celebrates the victory of light over darkness and goodness over evil,” said Simie Schtroks. “This is a most appropriate opportunity to motivate and inspire young people to make this world a brighter and better place. By filling the world with goodness and kindness, that light can dispel all sorts of darkness.”