HALIFAX -- The annual IWK Telethon has been cancelled due to COVID-19, but that hasn’t stopped a Cape Breton teen from raising an impressive amount of money for the cause.

“I just felt that it was a great place that does a lot of great things that deserves it,” says 14-year-old Alyssa Rose, who lives in Coxheath, N.S.

And Rose would know.

A few years ago, she underwent surgery at the Halifax children’s hospital to remove a brain tumour.

When the tumour returned, she spent weeks at the IWK undergoing radiation treatment to shrink it.

“The IWK’s done so much for her, with saving her life, looking after her, looking after us as a family,” says her father, Shawn Rose.

Last year, Rose presented a cheque for $10,521 during the IWK Telethon in Sydney, N.S.,

She was hoping to top that figure this year, but the fundraiser got off to a slow start.

“We weren’t doing that well in the beginning so we kind of thought we weren’t going to have that good of a year,” says Rose.

Then, COVID-19 hit, and the telethon, which was scheduled for next weekend, was cancelled.

But the teen wasn’t going to allow a pandemic to pause her fundraising efforts.

“It’s not something that you do for attention, so, I mean, it really didn’t affect me, whether or not to present this big cheque or not,” she says. “I’m doing it to give money to the hospital.”

In the end, she not only reached her goal, but surpassed it -- by $1 -- for a new grand total of $10,522.

But Rose doesn’t want to take credit, instead pointing out that local businesses and community members still stepped forward to help her cause, despite their own pandemic struggles.

“It means that people in our community are great and selfless and like to donate to good causes and help good people,” she says.

As for her health, Rose says she has been feeling well. While she hopes her hospital stays are over, she and her family plan to continue fundraising for the IWK Foundation, and being part of the telethon for years to come.

“We’re looking forward to next year, looking forward to raising more money if we can,” says Shawn Rose.

The family hopes to be back at next year’s telethon, presenting another impressive cheque.