Community Funds Help Batalia Family Achieve Bursary In Their Slain Daughter’s Honour

0
220

SURREY – Just in time for what would have been Maple Batalia’s 20th birthday (March 4), the Batalia family has achieved its $50,000 fundraising goal for the Maple Batalia Memorial Fund to benefit Simon Fraser University students.

Batalia’s family established the bursary fund just before the Christmas holidays with an initial gift of $10,000. Their goal was to grow this endowment to $50,000 to help women in the future achieve their educational goals. Since then, family, friends and community members have all come together to contribute.

“It has been amazing to watch the community work together to create this memorial in Maple’s honour,” says Joanne Curry, executive director of SFU’s Surrey campus. “Her family’s initiative and tireless efforts prompted numerous events, from bottle drives to a tribute at the Central City Model Search.

The largest gift of more than $13,000 to complete the fund came from local business, Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Limited.

Bob Cheema, speaking on behalf of Gateway, says: “Supporting this fund is so important. By working together to do something positive, we are helping Maple’s family, her friends and our entire community move beyond this tragedy while helping students in the community who are in need.”

Cheema, who is a big developer in Surrey, has donated to many other causes in the past.

Gordie and Kevin Dhaliwal of Legendary Developments also gave to the fund, noting that “two of Legendary’s projects are called Maple, and this is our way of giving back to a community that has been very good to us.”

The fund will be used to support SFU students in the faculty of health sciences, where Batalia was a student. It is the first bursary fund established at SFU to specifically support students in this new faculty.

Batalia was tragically shot and killed in the Central City Shopping Centre parkade on Sept. 28, 2011. She was studying health sciences and science, and her friends said she wanted to be a doctor.

Maple was tragically shot and killed just steps away from the Surrey campus in the Central City Shopping Centre parkade after a late-night study session on Sept. 28, 2011.

IHIT Sgt. Jennifer Pound said Wednesday homicide investigators continue to be “extremely dedicated” to finding Maple’s killer, or killers.

“It’s just a matter of time before [the killer] faces justice,” said Maple’s sister Roseleen Batalia.