On Saturday and Sunday, hundreds gathered together to take part in the ultimate celebration of outdoor athleticism, raising nearly $250,000 for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and the 60 Minute Kids’ Club.
The 8th Annual Adventure Challenge for Kids presented by Innovative Fitness was held at Cultus Lake on Saturday, September 14 and Jericho Beach Park on Sunday, September 15, with majority of the over 250 participants at the latter.
Teams took part in the multi-sport course, which included kayaking (or sailing for kids), cycling and trail running. They had two options for courses: short and long. The courses consisted of 3-6 km of kayaking, 15-30 km of cycling and 3.3-8 km of running, depending on the course and location.
One of those teams participating was “Dominic’s Crew” made up of 9-year-old Dominic’s parents Shawna and Moe Correia (seen below). The family has been going to Canuck Place since 2010 where Dominic, undiagnosed at this time, receives pain and symptom management and is able to experience different activities through recreation therapy and arts and crafts. This year is the first time Shawna and Moe have trained for and participated in the Adventure Challenge for Kids, with three Dominic’s Crew teams in the race, all pushing themselves to the limit for B.C. kids and families facing life-threatening illnesses. Altogether the teams raised an incredible $4,200 in support of Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and the 60 Minute Kids’ Club.
We had a chance to meet with Margaret McNeil, CEO of Canuck Place to ask her what this event meant to the organization. “This really raises the public profile of what Canuck Place does as we’re the provider of paediatric palliative care in British Columbia, the only organization that has a comprehensive range of services for kids with life limiting illnesses and for their families,” said McNeil. “We raise 80 per cent of our operating budget each year so events like this go directly to us helping to buy medication, pay for beds and buy food for the families and children, because every dollar that we raise needs to go to supporting the care that we provide.”
Out of the 450-plus children and families in the Canuck Place program, almost half come from the Fraser Valley, which is why Cultus Lake was chosen as the second Adventure Challenge location. Construction of the hospice’s second location in Abbotsford is scheduled to be completed this October. “We are very excited,” said McNeil. “The second location will give us the ability to double the number of kids and families we can serve every year. It’s beautiful and it’s very close to the Abbotsford Hospital, which is another real benefit.”
With that many children and families in the program, Canuck Place depends heavily on their 300-plus volunteers who are asked to commit to one year of time with a minimum of four hours per week. “We rely on volunteers to help support events like the Adventure Challenge,” said McNeil. “We also need volunteers in our kitchen to help with food prep, play with the kids and take them on outings. We have garden volunteers, volunteers that help maintain the house or those that help support us financially.”
“Working at Canuck Place makes me appreciate everyone in my life in a way that’s so fundamental,” said McNeil. “When kids have short lives, families appreciate every moment and they live in every moment, so to be able to be really mindful about appreciating everything that we have and being very present in that moment is a gift.”
For more information on Canuck Place, to volunteer or donate, visit www.canuckplace.org.
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