Red Deer girl over the moon to meet astronaut hero

A young Red Deer girl can soon check another item off her bucket list.

In late August, 11-year-old Magdalena Kehler emailed Dr. Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian female astronaut to go to space.

The question and wisdom-packed message was written after it had been decided that she would unfortunately not be able to attend an upcoming event featuring Bondar, and hosted by the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation, on Sept. 23.

“What does it feel like to take off into space?” Kehler ponders.

“What classes should I take in high school,” and, “Can I still be a mom, spend time with children and be an astronaut?” also grace the email along with a question about joining the military.

Kehler wrote that she was curious about that aspect because she’s scared about the prospect of having to fight.

In conversation with the foundation regarding what she was going to speak about during The Lunch Box Experience event, Bondar noted the communication she’d received from Kehler. When the foundation became aware, they went to work with sponsors to find a way to provide Kehler and her mother Chantel with two tickets, each worth $125.

“To see her mom’s face is so heartwarming (knowing that) her daughter’s dream can come true to meet Dr. Bondar,” said Manon Therriault, foundation CEO, after surprising Kehler with the gift.

“I work in an environment where our faith in humanity is continuously inspired and restored, but at the same time, to read the questions Magdalena had for Dr. Bondar was just mind-blowing. It’s not really something an 11-year-old normally thinks about. Its really great to have those questions answered for her.”

Not only will Kehler attend the event with her mom, but she will get some one-on-one time with Bondar, who is also a photographer, neurologist and owner of a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.

“I think as long as she’s been able to express what she wanted to be when she grows up, she’s always said she wants to be an astronaut,” says Chantel. “I’m so grateful that she’ll have the opportunity to meet Dr. Bondar; she can talk to a person who’s gone through those experiences and had those achievements. Then she’ll know that if she wants it, she can do it.”

More details about The Lunch Box Experience are on the foundation’s website.