In April, much like the rest of the world, Dalhousie student Adrian Delli Colli was isolating at his home in New Hampshire. It was there that Adrian learned of the tragic shooting rampage in Nova Scotia that cost the lives of 23 people. “I was mind-blown,” he says. Following the shooting, both Adrian and fellow Dalhousie student Ireland Thurler were spurred to action. As part of a fundraising effort, the two walked 150 kilometres, the same distance the shooter travelled. They brought with them a wagon, which contained tulips to give family members of the shooting’s victims. From November 5-8, Adrian and Ireland visited five of the towns that were affected by the shooting. Along the way, they were joined by both those wishing to pay their respects and victims of the shooting. “The fourth day we didn’t have a single kilometre that was lonely,” says Adrian. “We had like 20 people [with us] right at seven in the morning.”
$5000 and counting
The fundraising effort has garnered more than $5,000 in donations, and Adrian says he plans to continue collecting contributions. He says they hope to reach $10,000. Their original goal was only $1,000, but the pair surpassed that with donations they received along the way. For Adrian, there’s nothing more important than education, which is why the donations will be used to create a scholarship fund for the victim’s families. Not only does Adrian have a chance to spread his love for education through this scholarship, but he says he gained understanding through this experience. “There are kids out there who have gone through the most traumatic event of their lives. What we’re aiming to do is switch that traumatic event into an opportunity to go and learn about what intrigues them,” he said.
Hopefully they’ll feel like the rest of the world is on their side
While on their cross-province trek, the pair met countless supporters, but Adrian says meeting with victims' family members stand out most. That includes meeting the three-year-old son of Kristen Beaton, Dax. Kristen Beaton was murdered by the gunman on her way to work. “It was really amazing to meet someone who will reap the benefits of what we’re doing.” Adrian is in his second year at Dalhousie studying Recreation Management and is an endurance athlete. He hopes his journey with Ireland will make a lasting impact by giving those like Dax an opportunity to pursue an education. “If they have that opportunity to go and get that, and nothing stands in their way, hopefully they’ll feel like the rest of the world is on their side,” he said.