Roberta Bondar visits RMHC Toronto

January 10, 2018
Canada's first female astronaut tells stories of outer space to our students
Katelyn Godin and Roberta Bondar

“How do you sleep in space?”

“Why did your parents let you go to space?”

“Did you find treasure up there?”

These were some of the insightful questions asked of Dr. Roberta Bondar today when she visited students at the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Toronto School. Dr. Bondar, Canada’s first female astronaut, graciously gave her time to answer questions and pose for photos with the seriously ill children and their siblings.

Roberta Bondar with RMHC Toronto students

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity came about for our students thanks to one of their classmates, Katelyn Godin. Katelyn, 10, shares a hometown with Dr. Bondar: Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Before coming to Toronto in November for cancer treatment, Katelyn had participated in a nature photography competition put on by the Roberta Bondar Foundation. When she was unable to attend the photography exhibition and meet the legendary astronaut with her friends, Dr. Bondar decided to come see her in Toronto.

“Katelyn took a beautiful photograph and did her part to support our environment, so to have her missing didn’t seem right,” said Dr. Bondar. “I want that experience to be whole for everyone.”

Katelyn was touched to receive a framed copy of her photograph from Dr. Bondar, and all of her classmates were given signed portraits, bookmarks and pins.

Roberta Bondar presenting a framed photo to Katelyn Godin

Their best takeaways, however, were her colourful stories about outer space and the sage advice she offered about the importance of education.

“When I was a little girl in Sault Ste. Marie, I could see all of the stars above the lake and I would wonder, ‘What’s happening up there?’” she said. “There is so much to discover.”