As a young girl well known across Vancouver Island and beyond, Jeneece Edroff raised well over a million dollars in small change for Variety, the Children’s Charity and related causes. She did so while battling neurofibromatosis (NF): A rare and painful genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerve tissue. Known as ‘The Penny Girl’, Edroff’s insatiable optimism, perseverance and fundraising prowess is responsible for the creation of Jeenece Place, a ‘home away from home’ for distant families seeking specialty medical care in Victoria.
Edroff has been recognized by celebrities like Taylor Swift and Hilary Duff, political leaders like Premiere Christy Clark and through countless honours including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
But Edroff confronted his biggest challenge this summer. Now, at 24, Edroff is publicly embracing his identity as a transgender male, known by friends, family and a growing online community of international supporters as Frankie. While continuing to support children and families battling cancer and NF, Frankie is also hoping to inspire and advocate for youth struggling to acknowledge and embrace their own gender identities and sexual preferences.
Edroff is embracing the power of film to explore his personal history and promote his message of compassion, community and understanding through a documentary. ‘Penny Girl’ is a collaboration between Edroff and Empress Avenue Media – a new collective of independent filmmakers from Victoria, Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley who met on the set of a TV movie. The project has been submitted for funding through the Telus Storyhive program.
“This community has helped me so much over the past 24 years in all of all of my struggles and ambitions” says Edroff. “I hope they will be just as eager, now, to help me share my story in a whole new way.”
Members of the public can show their support for the film by voting for it at storyhive.com between Monday, July 30 and Thursday, August 2.
“Small change is a big deal. Just ask the kid who raised $1.6m in pennies, beat cancer, and recently came out as trans.”
If there are problems with the video, see the preview on Youtube here.