British Columbia

'You bring joy and happiness to our organization every single day'

Gia Tran, a 62-year-old woman who has been donating the refunds from bottles she collects to the B.C. Cancer Foundation, was recognized with the Terry Biggar Award for 2018.

Bottle collector honoured for keeping the environment clean — and giving money to cancer charity

Gia Tran was given the Terry Biggar Award for 2018 for her for sustainable practices and environmental contributions. (CBC)

Gia Tran's smile is a bit wider than usual this week.

That's because the Vancouver woman earned this year's Terry Biggar Award given out by the B.C. Bottle Depot Association in recognition of citizens  who contribute to sustainable practices and the environment.

On Tuesday, the B.C. Cancer Foundation handed Tran the award for 2018 because of her 21 years of contributing her bottle money to the organization — adding up to about $15,000.

But as CEO Sarah Roth puts it, Tran's contributions are much more than monetary.

"You bring joy and happiness to our organization every single day. I think you are a special bright light and especially during this time in the holiday season, we're just so grateful that you're a part of our family."

Watch Gia Tran be recognized by the B.C. Cancer Foundation and the B.C. Bottle Depot Association for her charitable work

Gia Tran, a bottle collector who has been donating refunds to the B.C. Cancer Foundation for over two decades, was given the Terry Biggar Award for 2018 in recognition of her sustainable practices. 1:15

Tran lives near Main and East Hastings streets on the Downtown Eastside, and can usually be found on Hastings looking for containers.

She says the summer is much better for collecting bottles because more people are outside. 

Tran has said it makes her happy to donate to the cancer agency.

 Roth agrees, calling her visits a daily highlight "for reminding everyone how every little bit counts and being generous and supporting your community."

With files from Rafferty Baker