Between playing on the ice and scouting from the press box, Thomas Gradin has been a member of the Vancouver Canucks for over 20 years. As a scout he was instrumental in bringing Mattias Ohlund, Alex Edler, and the Sedin twins to Vancouver, and was inducted into the Ring of Honour in 2011.
Through his time with the Canucks, Gradin became familiar with Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, and the team’s strong commitment to community involvement. Despite a busy summer schedule preventing him from training for the event, Gradin was a top participant in the 2014 Canuck Place Adventure Race.
“I am always happy to help Canuck Place in any way I can,” Gradin said. “We have been very fortunate to have a healthy family and I know others have not been as lucky. My playing days are long over but giving back is important to me.”
Despite a lack of training time, Gradin opted to complete the full course. He thought his strongest leg would be the trail run, but he surprised himself by being the top kayaker in the race – despite having never used the style of kayak supplied by event partner EcoMarine.
“Once I got used to steering it was easy,” said Gradin, who had spent previous summers on older kayaks in Sweden. “I loved the setting on the ocean right in Vancouver harbour. The mountains and the ocean liners are the backdrop and as a race course, it doesn’t get any better.”
Gradin wasn’t much more prepared for his bike leg – he had to borrow one from old friend, Mike Penny, and rode it four kilometres to Jericho Beach before the race even started.
So with zero training time, and borrowed gear, why did Gradin show up to support Canuck Place?
“Going out and participating in the Adventure Race and having fun, getting fit and giving back to children and families in BC is a win-win,” he said. “I really enjoyed seeing all the other competitors and we all shared a common goal to give back to this amazing organization that has been caring for BC’s kids for over 20 years.”
This race isn’t just for life long athletes, it’s an incredibly family-friendly event, with a children’s course, teen challenge, and even a relay option.
Canuck Place physicians, past and present, are taking advantage of the relay option this year, forming team What’s Up Docs. Former Canuck Place physician Dr. Leah Cline will be taking on the kayak leg on September 13.
“Relays are fun,” Cline said. “It’s about being part of a team working towards a common goal and cheering each other on, while focusing on what we each do best makes for an amazing outcome!”
The Adventure Race raises much needed funds for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, BC’s recognized pediatric palliative care provider. Participants help provide the support required to provide care to 600 children and families across the province.
Canuck Place Children’s Hospice supports children with life-threatening illnesses through respite for the entire family, pain and symptom care, 24-hour province-wide family support, art, education, music and recreation therapy, bereavement counselling and end-of-life care. Whether life is measured in days, weeks, or months, children deserve the opportunity to learn, develop and grow. Canuck Place helps children and families live courageously through life’s most challenging circumstances.
Whether you sign up as an individual or compete as a team, the Canuck Place Adventure Race will provide you with a thrilling challenge and a great way to give back to your community. Your participation ensures B.C.’s children with life-threatening illnesses and their families get the care they need.
When: Sunday, September 13
Where: Jericho Beach
Vancity Buzz is a proud sponsor of Canuck Place Adventure Race 2015.