by Jo Barnes –
Some want to play hockey with friends.
Some want to volunteer their time. Most just want to make a difference. Where do these people all go to direct this energy? They take it to the street.
“The street” was the pavement and sidewalks outside of the Mary Winspear Centre, the site of the amazing June 11 Seaside Magazine’s Fourth Annual Taking It To The Street. This road hockey charity event raises funds for Help Fill A Dream Foundation, an organization that fulfills dreams of children with life-threatening conditions and provides financial support to their families. This year’s event raised $21,400 for the Foundation.
Taking It To The Street was born out of a chat between Seaside Magazine publisher/owner Sue Hodgson and Brian Losie, Executive Director of the Foundation.
“I’d talked with Brian about how this foundation had helped his daughter. There had been a charity golf tournament at Bear Mountain, and I wanted to do an event like this. So I suggested road hockey,” said Sue.
Since inception in 2014, participation and monies raised have grown significantly. It’s an event that draws people together towards a common cause.
“We have to make a difference,” commented Sue.
Volunteer and proud grandfather Dave Conrad shared his very personal connection to this event.
“My grandson who is three years old was a recipient of Help Fill A Dream this year. He’s dealing with leukemia. I’m here taking donations. I believe in it. You have to.”
Festivities kicked off with a pancake breakfast at 9 a.m. hosted by the Spitfire Grill followed by the first hockey games at 9:30. Road hockey teams included current and past players from Peninsula Panthers Hockey Club and Victoria Grizzlies and employees from local companies like Seafirst Insurance, TD Bank and Sidney Firefighters. Goals were scored, crowds cheered and Grizz the Grizzlies Mascot banged his drum. Little ones played in colourful inflatables provided by Par T Perfect. Those taking in the games could also enjoy massages given by SpineCare Chiropractic, don crazy costumes for photos by Four Frames Studio, drive the VRX race car simulator, or listen to the soulful sounds of Blue Hearts blues band.
While the ages, backgrounds and skill levels of volunteers varied, they shared the same enthusiasm and desire to help this charity.
“I have kids of my own. Our children are healthy, but any given time that can go away,” shared Steven Pearce, captain of the Seafirst team. “I love it; that’s why I do it.”
As TD Bank volunteers barbecued and prepared the food, all donated by Save-On-Foods, this year’s Dream Recipient Andrei Marti and his family arrived. Andrei was diagnosed two years ago with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes.
“I’m in grade two. I like to play soccer and climb,” smiled the enthusiastic seven-year-old.
Andrei’s condition has brought not only significant medical expenses for parents Reto and Annelies but new parenting challenges.
“He can be really low or really high. It’s a bit of a rollercoaster,” shared Anneliese.
Added Reto: “There are no courses you can take; you are not prepared for this. But life is about dealing with adversity.”
But the family pushes forward. Andrei is keen to raise money and awareness. He received the Youth and Philanthropy Association Award and is the Youth Ambassador for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The family was recently featured on CBC’s Fifth Estate Canada’s Drug Problem talking about how rising medical costs affect their family.
As Taking It To The Street wound down, the “dream” was officially bestowed on Andrei and his parents: a trip to Disney World in Florida. Craig Smith, Foundation Executive Director, asked Andrei a few questions about his time in the hospital.
“I said to the doctor maybe there won’t be a cure in your lifetime, but in my lifetime there will be a cure,” stated the very determined little boy.
Such big hopes from such a small boy; there was definitely a number of people listening who found themselves reaching for a tissue.
From set-up to tear-down, cooking to serving, from first registration to the last draw prize given; it all happens because of dedicated people who know that making these children’s dreams possible is the work of a community of hope.
All photos by www.nuttycake.com. First photo:dream recipient Andrei Marti and his parents Reto and Annelies await the Dream reveal. Second photo: Competition was fierce between the teams. Third photo: First place in the tournament went to the Town of Sidney team.
To see all photos from the event, visit http://www.nuttycake.com/Vault/Events/TI2TS-2017/.