Amanda Lindhout, others, step up to help Manitoba teen who was attacked

Thanks to strangers, Rinelle Harper and her mother will get the chance to go to St.Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia later this month to talk about a possible scholarship for the 16-year-old.

People touched by Rinelle Harper's story and strength help with scholarship and Air Miles

Rinelle Harper, 16, nearly died after a vicious attack in which she ended up in the frigid waters of the Assiniboine River in the fall of 2014.

A Manitoba teen who was attacked and left for dead is once again being helped by the kindness of strangers.

Rinelle Harper, 16, was assisted by a pair of Good Samaritans after she was assaulted and left near the Assiniboine River last year.

Alberta journalist Amanda Lindhout was freed last year after being kidnapped in Somalia. ((CBC))
Now, because her story has touched numerous people, Harper has an opportunity to go to St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, and will be able to fly there to meet with administrators about possible scholarships.

It started when Amanda Lindhout, former journalist held hostage for 15 months in Somalia turned humanitarian, heard about Harper's brutal attack.

Several months ago, Harper's mother Julie reached out to Lindhout on Facebook, saying Harper was inspired by her strength in the face of adversity.

Lindhout said she was impressed with the teen's spirit and resiliency.

"I've just kind of taken it on a little bit personally in that I really want to see Rinelle have opportunities. I want to see her be able to rebuild her life," Lindhout said in an interview from Australia where she is on a speaking tour.

Lindhout set up an on-line donation account to help the family out after their home burned to the ground in July.

Lindhout said she talked with Harper about the teen's goals and aspirations to continue her education and go into medicine.

Then, Lindhout contacted her alma mater, St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, and set up a meeting Aug. 19 with school administrators to discuss a possible scholarship for Harper.

But, the family has no money to pay for flights from Winnipeg to Nova Scotia.

Sunday, Lindhout put a message on Facebook, appealing for Air Miles donations to help Harper and her mother.

Within two hours, two women from Edmonton, who had never met the teen, but were moved by her story, stepped up with the Air Miles.

"I was so touched and amazed at how quickly the Canadian public really came together around that plea for the Air Miles," Lindhout said.

"I think that just really speaks to the generosity of the Canadian public you know, I mean, I'm just one individual who made a post to the people who know me and in such a short period of time people were rallying together wanting to help this family. It is such a beautiful thing," Lindhout said.

The family has never travelled outside of Manitoba, according to Lindhout, and is very excited to be able to go and is thankful to those who have come forward to help them.

The Harper family responded on Monday:

Dear Canadian friends, 

Our family has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and kindness in the months that have followed Rinelle's attack. 

After our family home burned down a few weeks ago we found ourselves in need of help again. So many have donated and we are so moved by the generosity shown to us.

We have some great opportunities for Rinelle, like the meeting at St. Francis Xavier University to discuss her education. Because of donor contributions we can attend those meetings.

We are so proud to be Canadian and we thank all those who keep us in their prayers. 

- The Harper Family


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