Manon Therriault, Red Deer Regional Health Foundation CEO, gives 11-year-old Magdalena Kehler, of Red Deer, a ticket to see Dr. Roberta Bondar, the first female Canadian in space, speak at the Lunch Box Experience on Sept. 23. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

WATCH: Red Deer girl set to meet Canada’s first female astronaut

A Red Deer girl who wants to be an astronaut will meet the first female Canadian who travelled into space.

Friday, the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation gave Magdalena Kehler, 11, a free ticket to listen to Dr. Roberta Bondar speak at its Lunch Box Experience event Sept. 23.

Magdalena will also get to meet Bondar.

Chantel Kehler, Magdalena’s mother, said she’s happy her daughter will be able to speak with someone who has been to space.

“As long as she’s been able to express what she’s wanted to be when she grew up, she’s been saying she wants to be an astronaut,” said Kehler.

“I’m so grateful she has the opportunity to meet Dr. Bondar, so she can talk to a person who’s gone through those experiences and has had those achievements.”

In August, Magdalena sent Bondar an email asking her a number of questions, including: What does it feel like to take off into space?

Do you ever get too hot or too cold in your space suit?

Can I still be a mom, spend time with my children and be an astronaut?

“She’s pretty shy in person, but that’s how she thinks and how she writes. I encouraged her to write the letter and send it, because the questions were cute. We sent it as it was and hopefully she can get some answers,” Kehler said.

Manon Therriault, Red Deer Regional Health Foundation CEO, said Bondar brought the email to the group’s attention.

“When we were talking with Dr. Bondar about what we wanted her to speak about, she mentioned Magdalena’s name as if we had already known about the story, but we didn’t,” said Therriault.

“We were really grateful that Dr. Bondar came forward and told us she received this email. As soon as we heard about that, we knew we had to do something.”

Therriault said it was heartwarming to see how happy Magdalena and her mother were to receive a ticket to the event.

Bondar is “an inspirational woman. She’s the first Canadian female in space. She’s a neurologist, she’s a … very accomplished woman,” said Therriault.

The Lunch Box Experience will also feature performances from comedians Erica Sigurdson and Dave Hemstad, who are regularly featured on CBC’s The Debaters.

Proceeds from the event will go toward ceiling-mounted patient lifts at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit

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