By Jesse Holth –
What is life without compassion? It’s true what they say – life really is about the connections we make with other people. It’s about helping and supporting each other, and at this year’s Taking It To The Street, we got to do it while having a great time. It was a beautiful sunny day, with perfect weather to play some road hockey, and a lively event where Seaside Magazine was able to raise $25,000 (now $125,000 to date) for Help Fill A Dream Foundation.
So many people came out to support the event, and everyone was smiling and having fun. A number of hockey teams participated this year, including players from the Peninsula Panthers and the Victoria Royals. “[It’s] a good opportunity to support the community and those around us,” says Ryan Spizawka, a prospect for the Victoria Royals. Nolan Bentham, a fellow prospect, agrees. “This event’s been really cool, [and] it’s for a good cause,” he nods. Former professional hockey player Doug Bodger, of the Vancouver Canucks, also made an appearance at the event. He lives in the Cowichan Valley and came down to support the cause. “[It’s] something you want to be a part of,” he says, calling it a “no-brainer.”
With plenty of fun activities for the whole family to enjoy, the day was a big hit. “The kids are really loving the dinosaur stuff,” says Jessie Della Vedova, operating the Four Frames Photo Booth sponsored by Dino Lab Inc. “We do a lot of work with Help Fill A Dream,” adds Casey Cathcart. Kids even got to meet a realistic life-sized dinosaur, Velma the Velociraptor, thanks to Raptor4Rent! “I’ve seen a lot of smiling kids and happy families,” says Richard Ostle, part of the organizing team for the event. He says it’s a great way to combine “Canada’s favourite pastime” with a good cause. “[We love to see] a lot of people having fun.” Residents were joined by local businesses and team mascots, including members of Unifor 333BC, the Sidney and Central Saanich Fire Departments, accountants Peggy Yelland & Associates, and mascots like “Grizz” of the Victoria Grizzlies, Marty the Marmot of the Victoria Royals, and Rocky of the Victoria Shamrocks, among others.
“It’s about supporting children,” says local Joachim Ge. “It’s a way to give back to the community, and that’s important to me.” At one of the booths, volunteers with brightly-coloured wigs are handing out cotton candy. “My husband and I started volunteering with Help Fill A Dream eight years ago,” says Michele Brooks. “We just really love contributing to our community.” Fans were also greeted with an array of superheroes, in full costume. “We’re a children’s charity group called Superheroes of Victoria,” says founder Mark Ashfield. “We’ve been around for 10 years,” he continues. “We’re [basically] a free volunteer resource for charities – we work a lot with Help Fill A Dream.” He says the kids love to see their favourite superheroes in real life.
The event wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of TD. “TD likes to give back to the community,” says James Haley-Browning. They are especially committed to sports and children’s health, so Taking It To The Street is a perfect match. Thanks to everyone in our community, the day was a big success – it’s amazing what we can accomplish together.
Attendees were treated to the musical stylings of Johnny Gr4ves, a talented local artist. “It’s amazing that we have everyone come together,” he says. “Vancouver Island is all about community.” Samantha Whitney, owner of Stem to Stern Massage Clinic, reiterates how important it is to support each other. “I’m a mom,” she says, “and I think about my kids – what if something happened to them?” She’s glad to see the event is stirring up the ‘giving’ spirit in people, and says it’s a great way to bring the community together. “We’re on this earth to care about others – [that’s] what we’re really here for.”
This Year’s Dream Recipient:
This year’s dream recipient is Adam Bolton. Adam was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was seven years old. “You don’t expect that [as a parent],” says his mother, Lindsay. She says one of the hardest parts about the diagnosis is that it’s forever – there is no cure. “It’s something he’ll have to deal with for the rest of his life.”
Adam has chosen a unique vacation for his dream: a winter adventure in the Yukon. Adam, along with his mother, father, and sister, will be travelling north to have the experience of a lifetime. Their “Yukon Adventure” will take them to Whitehorse in December of this year, where they’ll be dogsledding and seeing the magical Northern Lights.
“We’re really outdoorsy people,” says Lindsay. “We’ve always loved those cold-weather adventures.” She explains how they found out that Adam was getting his dream. “I got the phone call one day at work, [and] couldn’t stop smiling.” When she told Adam, he was in disbelief. “He [really] didn’t believe me!” she exclaims. “[Sometimes] I feel like we don’t deserve it – there are so many [sick] kids out there.” She says they are beyond appreciative. “We’re just so grateful this could happen for Adam.”
Photos by Tracey Scott Photography