Sherwood Park teenager Brandon Bosma has won a week-long educational trip to Vimy, France to study Canada's involvement in World War One.
Bosma, one of 21 young people from across Canada to receive a Vimy Pilgrimage Award, didn’t believe his mother when he learned he had won.
“I was like, okay stop the joke,” he recounted. “My mom was serious.So It looks like I'm going.”
Bosma, 16, became interested in history when he learned about his great-grandfather’s experience with the Dutch resistance in World War Two.
“He hid lots of pilots and unfortunately he was caught by the Gestapo and tortured and killed,” he said.
“But he had a street named after him and people still give him respect.”
Bosma was born with the rare genetic disorder Trisomy 18. His mother Gloria Bosma said the odds were against him surviving past his first birthday.
“I was told between ninety and ninety five percent of the children die before the age one,” she said.
“Most of them never learn how to walk, talk. Tube fed. A lot of them have heart problems.”
In an essay sent to the Vimy Foundation, Brandon highlighted his experience helping kids to read and his deep love for history. He says books about history and war inspired him.
“Instead of learning how to walk and talk, I did things very differently,” he said.
“Instead of using my hands to read, I used my feet.”
Bosma’s award means he gets to see a part of the world that he has read so much about.
“For him to be able to actually stand where the actual history took place is just going to be a dream come true,” Gloria Bosma said.
Brandon leaves for France on Friday.