Health-related fundraising events try to spread some sunshine
Most of us know and care about at least one person who has been struck with a devastating disease. Some of us are part of entire communities of people facing monumental health challenges. And when those communities come together to take action, it can be a beautiful thing to experience.
This was on display in Stanley Park on June 10 when 4,250 people showed up for the annual Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes. One of the participants, NDP Leader Adrian Dix, is perhaps the best-known British Columbian who’s living with Type 1 diabetes. He told the Georgia Straight that he likes attending this event because it enables the community to support those coping with a chronic disease.
“In my case, I feel like I’ve mastered it a little bit,” Dix said before the walk. “But every once a month, once every couple of months, it really comes and kicks you in the butt. It’s a grind.”
Over the next month, there will be several other health-related fundraising events across the Lower Mainland. They’re a great way to meet new people and help you feel a little better about yourself. Even if you don’t have any money to give, sometimes simply showing up sends a positive message to those battling a difficult disease. Here’s a list of some of the bigger events.
Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer (June 16 and 17)
Benefiting the B.C. Cancer Foundation, the fourth annual ride starts in Vancouver and ends in Seattle. This year, an assistant director of the TV show Supernatural, Kevin Parks, is riding in memory of former Supernatural, 21 Jump Street, and X-Files director Kim Manners, who died of lung cancer in 2009. With its plan to build the Northern Gateway Pipeline, which would lead to crude-oil shipments through Queen Charlotte Sound on supertankers, Enbridge isn’t the most popular corporate citizen in B.C. these days. Sponsoring the two-day cycling ride to raise money for cancer research is probably helping Enbridge's image in some circles, given that $27 million has been raised through this event since 2009. For more information, see the Ride to Conquer Cancer website.
RUSH: Race and Urban Scavenger Hunt (June 23)
Teams of two travel across the Lower Mainland on foot and by transit to complete 10 “checkpoint challenges” within a six-hour time limit. This fundraising event for the B.C. Lung Association offers prizes to those who raise the most money. For more information, see the Rush Vancouver website.
Seventh Annual Brian Jessel BMW Cabriolet Charity Gala Fundraiser (June 23)
This isn’t a run or a walk, but who can resist an opportunity to see a live performance by Grammy winner and The Voice judge CeeLo Green? The event raises money for Arts Umbrella, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, and Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation. Guests will enjoy live concert access; complimentary valet parking, cocktails and beverages, and appetizers; and a chance to win a one-year lease on the next-generation 2012 BMW 3 Series. For more information, see the Cabriolet website.
14th Annual Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5K (June 24)
The honorary chair of the Scotiabank Group Charity Challenge, Canucks forward Mason Raymond, announced earlier this year that 56 charities are participating in this year’s event. The bank covers the administration costs, and each charity hustles up participants, who help raise money for their respective causes. This year, more than $3 million is expected to be raised. Scotiabank offers three prizes of $5,000 to the charities that raise the most money. For information, see the Canada Running Series website.
The Underwear Affair (July 7)
Designed to raise awareness about cancers below the waist, the Underwear Affair is a zany 10-kilometre run or five-kilometre walk through the streets of Vancouver. Participants show up in their underwear and raise money to research prostate, testicular, ovarian, bladder, cervical, and colorectal cancers. All proceeds go to the B.C. Cancer Foundation. The walk and run are followed by a huge party with lots of sexy young people dressed in their Skivvies, and last year, more than 1,000 people signed up for the event. For more information, see the Underwear Affair website.
Golfathon for ALS (Various dates)
There are fundraising events at golf courses across B.C. to help those dealing with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It’s a crippling neurological disease that burst into public consciousness when it struck baseball star Lou Gehrig. The average life expectancy after diagnosis is two to five years. For more information, see the Golfathon for ALS website.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.