Don Devenney’s efforts as a volunteer have covered running a marathon through the desert to soaring through the skies above B.C.
Devenney is a three-time veteran of the Marathon des Sables, a grueling 250-kilometre ultra-marathon spread in six stages over seven days through the Sahara desert in Morocco. He was inspired in part to compete in the event for the first time in 2012 as part of his efforts to raise money for the Canadian Arthritis Society in support of a friend who was dealing with a “particularly nasty” form of rheumatoid arthritis.
There were days when his friend couldn’t even get from her bed to the couch, Devenney recalled in a 2012 story in the Gazette. Although Devenney initially wanted the money he raised to go toward the cost of her treatments in the U.S., his friend insisted that all funds raised go toward assisting everyone with her condition.
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He also took part in the Royal Victoria Marathon in 2009, raising close to $10,000 combined through his efforts in Morocco and Victoria.
“I think we all have a responsibility to give back where we can,” explained Devenney, who works as a senior IT security and risk specialist and privacy officer at Royal Roads University. “We can either be part of a problem or part of a solution.”
Devenney’s contributions include volunteering as an auxiliary constable with the West Shore RCMP since 1995. He recently completed a series of presentations on anti-bullying at local schools, a subject he takes seriously.
“Having been bullied in my early teens, I’m well aware of the effect bullying has,” Devenney noted. “Internet bullying, because it’s anonymous in nature, is much worse than what I experienced growing up. I do what I can to help young people understand the effects of Internet bullying because growing up can be challenging enough.”
Devenney was also a member of the 2008 Tour de Rock, a fundraising effort that involves a two-week, 1,200 km bike ride from Port Alice to Victoria. The event has raised more than $26 million for research and to assist children with cancer during the past 22 years.
His efforts also take Devenney above and beyond into the wild blue yonder through his work as a volunteer pilot with Angel Flight of British Columbia. The registered non-profit organization provides free air transportation to ambulatory cancer patients requiring treatment at cancer clinics and hospitals in Vancouver, Victoria and other cancer centres within the approved Angel Flight areas of operation.
“I’ve been able to recognize where help is needed and use my abilities to improve the outcome,” Devenney said. “I think it’s incumbent on all of us to put some effort into making life better for those around us.”
For more information, visit angelflight.ca.
Nominations for the 2022 Local Hero Awards West Shore open on Feb. 25. To learn more, go to hero.goldstreamgazette.com.
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