Photo by Dana MacPhail-Touesnard Alayne Martell’s friends and supporters, who called themselves Team Ninja as they supported their friend through her cancer treatments, gathered to remember Martell by enjoying specialty ice creams named in her honour at What’s the Scoop student ice cream barn in St. Peter’s. One dollar from each of the specialty ice creams is being donated to the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Nova Scotia.

ST. PETER’S: A local ice cream shop is helping to raise funds for the Make-a-Wish Foundation as well as paying tribute to a beloved family member who lost her battle with cancer last year.

What’s the Scoop, a student ice cream barn located in St. Peter’s, is owned and operated by Meghan Martell. She was approached by Make-a-Wish Foundation supporter and fundraiser Shanna Burke with an opportunity to help raise funds for the foundation through the creation of a specialty ice cream.

“While discussing the fundraiser for the Make-a-Wish Foundation with Shanna, I spotted a picture of Alayne and her daughter, Molly. Alayne had the biggest heart and loved to help her community,” Martell said of her aunt, who spearheaded the August 2019 Harbour Wars event in Little Harbour that raised more than $22,000 for the Cape Breton Regional Hospital’s Cancer Patient Care Fund.

Her own cancer diagnosis, of acute myeloid leukemia, would come just a few months later.

“We discussed the idea with the rest of Alayne’s family, especially Molly, and we decided it would be a great way to honour Alayne. Molly helped design the ice creams, which are the “Nona Sundae” and “Team Ninja” dipped cone ice creams that are being sold at What’s the Scoop,” Martell said, noting the specialty flavours include some of Alayne’s favourite treats and an orange shirl to represent the orange leukemia ribbon.

As for the names, Nona was actually Alayne Martell’s first name (Alayne was her middle name) and some friends used as a nickname of sorts while Team Ninja is a moniker her friends gave themselves as they supported her through her cancer treatments.

Burke said she shared in the enthusiasm for naming the specialty ice cream choices for Alayne Martell.

“She would love that,” she said of her late friend. “She was pretty amazing.”

Burke and the members of The St. Peter’s Pirates team are raising the funds as part of the foundation’s ‘Heroes Challenge’ event taking place in Sydney in September. Burke’s team, which includes Jill Kirby, Stephanie Stone and Paula MacDonald, is raising money to grant a wish, “but I think we’re going to be able to grant several, we’re doing really well with it,” Burke said.

Since the immergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions on gathering limits that followed, Burke has had to cancel events that typically result in sizeable donations to the foundation, including the annual Easter Fun Day event in St. Peter’s.

The initiative with What’s the Scoop in St. Peter’s provided an opportunity to raise money in a different way and has already raised over $400 in its first two weeks and will continue throughout the summer.

Martell and Burke both said they are enthused by the community response to the fundraising effort.

“People are leaving donations when they go, people are paying it forward and leaving quite a bit of money to pay for other people’s ice creams, so it’s becoming quite a thing,” Burke said.

Martell said her family has been blown away by the support.

“It touches all of our hearts to know that Alayne’s legacy lives on to support such a meaningful cause, as we see the community continue to come together in her memory,” Martell said. “For the support shown by our community, and even those from away, we are truly grateful.”

The What’s the Scoop student ice cream barn is located on Granville Street in St. Peter’s. The specialty ice creams for the Make-a-Wish Foundation are available for the summer, with one dollar from each one sold being directed to the foundation.