The sun came out and so did the fundraisers at the University of Victoria over the weekend during the 17th annual Vancouver Island Money Mart Easter Seals 24-Hour Relay for the Kids.
Teams relaying around Ring Road and Centennial Stadium raised a total of $422,558 to help send kids to the Easter Seals Camp Shawnigan, a specialized camp for children with disabilities.
The 42-member Lightning Crickets brought in the most donations with $23,086.
Their fundraising techniques included charging cover at house parties and selling sunglasses branded with their team name.
Lightning Crickets co-captain Dalyn Clarke was motivated to get involved seven years ago when he came up to Centennial Stadium to check out the party atmosphere and saw how much impact a single event could have.
“It was impressive,” Clarke said. “The following year some friends of mine were putting together a team and I joined them. The year after that I said ‘Can I help out and make this better?’”
The team has raised $50,000 since it was formed.
Beyond donation totals, teams aim to keep spirits high and always with the young campers in mind.
“When camp is finished, we all feel this withdrawal and the 24-Hour relay is a great way to get that going,” said Mandy Holly, captain of the brightly clad Bananas United, a team of Camp Shawnigan counsellors.
Holly and her tie-dyed crew kicked off the relay in a flurry of dance and bubble-blowing. Off in the Woods (third highest fundraisers with $12,336), decorated their team headquarters in a M*A*S*H theme and won best team spirit.
Ladysmith Madness went with a Christmas theme and came away with a best campsite award, while Dangerous When Wet won for top mileage after completing 109 laps of the 2.8-kilometres loop.
Sweet Assets was the top corporate fundraiser with $11,604 raised, and relay vets, Team Carebearz were first in the small business division with just under $10,000 in donations. Some 2,000 runners, volunteers, sponsors and supporters were on hand for the weekend celebration.
The Victoria event has raised more than $7 million for Easter Seals camps since it began.