Natalia Sanchez, who hails from Sanford, Florida – about as far away from B.C. as you can get in North America – found out about Pacific Wild’s #savebcwolves campaign through the Takaya Legacy Project, Cheryl Alexander’s work to preserve the legacy of Takaya, the coastal sea wolf who lived alone in the Discovery Islands off Victoria for seven years. Takaya ended up on Vancouver Island in early 2020, where he was captured by conservation officers, and was released near Port Renfrew. He was shot and killed by a hunter in March, and his story generated media coverage around the world and catapulted the reality for British Columbia’s wild wolves into everyday conversation.
Laurie McConnell, Director of Community & Systems for Pacific Wild, collaborated with Cheryl and the Takaya Legacy Project to launch the first ever Wolf Trivia game on January 31, 2021, and that’s where we met Natalia, who quickly climbed the leaderboard and impressed everyone with her knowledge of B.C. wolves despite being from Florida. She also stated she was playing the game on her phone at the sidelines of a soccer game, and won the ‘best multitasker’ prize.
In corresponding around mailing out her prize, this polished and clear communicator offered to do a fundraiser on her own for the #savebcwolves campaign. We worked with her and our donation platform specialists at Fundraise Up to create her own donation form, progress meter, and Natalia set an original goal of raising $300 ahead of the run. Our assumption was we were working with a soccer mom.
Over the two weeks leading up to her 48 hours of running – yes, around the clock every four hours – we kept raising the goal… 500, 750, 1000, 1500. Natalia ultimately raised $2,018.28 (USD). Then we discovered she was 11 years old.