The final countdown is on for one of the city’s most legendary charity events.
The Vancouver Island Money Mart Easter Seals 24-Hour Relay for the Kids is slated for June 4-5 at the University of Victoria.
The 24-Hour Relay is an all day and all night celebration that helps raise money to send children with disabilities to a week of specially-equipped summer camp on Shawnigan Lake. Since the relay began on Vancouver Island 16 years ago, teams have raised $7 million.
Each year, the Victoria branch sends 300 children to Easter Seals Camp Shawnigan, fully accessible with lifts and ramps, and staffed with a high ratio of counsellors to visiting children.
Teams relay around the 2.8-kilometre-loop of the Centennial Stadium track and Ring Road for 24 hours, while the Lions thank their fundraisers with live music throughout the day, movies and poker during the night, as well as a beer garden with televisions broadcasting the NHL playoffs.
Team Carebearz, last year’s top team with $25,055 raised for Easter Seals, is now in their final leg of fundraising. Since the Carebearz first formed five years ago as university students, they’ve raised $70,000 through bottle drives, car washes, silent auctions, and open mics.
A co-ordinator through Recreation Integration Victoria, Brendan McCann knows first-hand the impact of each $2,400 raised to send a child with a disability to camp.
“I get to see exactly where the money is going,” McCann said. “A lot of us from the team have been involved working with kids who attend the camp and we know how special it is for kids and how big it is for the families to have a week of respite. …(We) realize how special a place it is and how magical it is, so it’s well worth all the time that we put in.”
“We don’t set a specific goal, we just hope that we can raise as much as the previous year and more,” said Shannon Bernays, senior events manager for organizers, the B.C. Lions Society for Children with Disabilities.
In 2010, the Vancouver Island relay banked $477,000.
Some unique participants have graced the track in past years, including teams of just one person who ran or walked the entire 24 hours. This year, personal trainer and operator of New Image Bootcamps, Arran McLellan will be aiming to make the Guinness World Records for his second time.
McLellan plans to step up onto a standard exercise bench for eight continual hours during the event, in hopes of setting a new world endurance record. He had planned on stepping for the entire 24 hours, but a hip flexor injury saw him recently adjust his goals. He’s been doing three-hour training sessions in advance of the big day.
“It’s not easy,” McLellan said. “It’s physically draining, that’s why I’ve injured myself right now… It’s like getting a workout, but for 24 hours.”
Relay around town
• May 25 – Last year’s fourth highest fundraising team, Off in the Woods, hosts a night of comedy, music and poetry at Cabin 12 (607 Pandora Ave.). Starts at 7 p.m., for a minimum donation of $5 at the door.
• May 27 – Marty’s Angels host a beer and burger karaoke night at Soprano’s Bar & Grill (730 Caledonia Ave.) from 5-9 p.m. Purchase $10 tickets for a beer and burger or pay to make your friends get up and sing.
• May 28 – The Shloppy Yoggers continue the fundraising at Soprano’s from 9 p.m. Tickets are $8 at the door.
• May 28 – Team Country Grocer is holding a drive-through bottle drive (from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.) and barbecue (12-5 p.m.) at the store’s Esquimalt location.
• May 28 – New Image Bootcamp hosts a car wash from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 755 Vanalman Ave. (by the Red Barn Market).
• May 30 – Last year’s top fundraisers, Team Carebearz are selling tickets to a silent auction at 5th Street (1028 Hillside Ave.), starting at 6:15 p.m.
Tickets are $20 and available at 250-888-0120.