Oct. 5 proved to be a perfect day to host the 20th Ultimate Frisbee tournament at W.L. McLeod School. Our purpose is to raise money to send to International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), which is a research facility in the UBC faculty of Medicine and VCH Research Institute.
ICORD has supported us whole-heartedly through the years. It is our spirit and dedication to their research that they appreciate. A few years ago, ICORD re-named a scholarship award the W.L. McLeod Award, to honour our commitment to their research. Each year, in the spring, this award is granted to a deserving researcher.
This year, ICORD sponsored two spinal cord injury (SCI) researchers to attend our 20th tournament and show us some of the advances made in this field. Ali Williams and Seth Holland arrived on the morning of Oct. 4 and shared their research with students at WLM and Nechako Valley Secondary. Twenty years has seen amazing advances in the lives of people living with spinal cord injuries.
Seth and Ali spoke of what each of their focuses are in the lab. Ali studies the mechanics of mobile people and uses that information to design robotics for her SCI clients. Seth explained that his research was to understand why it is that our body can heal itself from breaks and tears except when that trauma happens to the spinal cord. Both researchers are dedicated to their area of study and presented meaningful information that held the interests of our elementary students. It was a wonderful gift to have them here this year.
Without a doubt, we enjoyed one of the most beautiful autumn days as we played through our 20th Ultimate Frisbee Tournament! Our school’s gym was filled with nearly 250 students from six elementary schools; Fraser Lake Elementary Secondary School having come the furthest, and Northside joining us for the first time.
The organizing committee campaigned local businesses in Vanderhoof for prizes. There was an overwhelming show of support and generosity from our business community. We wanted to reward great sportsmanship during the games. As each game ended, the players picked a member of the opposing team that showed good sportsmanship. All names went in a bucket and winners were drawn from there. We were able to draw 35 winners! Thank-you so much to our local businesses for stepping up to help us add prizes to our tournament. All the gifts were an unexpected surprise but a well-received bonus for the players this year.
Our opening ceremonies included a video message from Rick Hansen, to all the kids and adults gathered in our gym. He spoke to them of the difference they have made in the lives of people living with spinal cord injuries. Rick also talked of his “Man in Motion” tour and how it takes “many bodies in motion” to make changes and improvements for others. It is his hope and dream that there will come a day when people with spinal cord injuries will be able to walk again. We believe that every year we play and hand over our contribution, we are helping the chances of those dreams becoming a reality!
It’s necessary that we show our appreciation to three exceptional sponsors of our tournament. Since the inception of our tournament we have enjoyed unfailing support from School District #91, Four Rivers Co-op and the Omineca Express. We have received 20 years of continuous support and without their help we could not have done what we have accomplished. It is also important to say that over the years we have had other businesses come on board and expand our fundraising options. Businesses like Kal Tire, who popped up fresh popcorn, J&S for the ice cream treats and to Lays for the tasty Doritos. And to all the businesses that donated prizes for our 20th celebration, you really made it special for our kids. Thank you so much for all you have done to help us keep playing to make dreams come true!
Our total funds raised are still being tallied at this time, but we are at $1,600 and rising. We are so proud of our community whose foundation is built on being charitable. Every week we see the evidence of our citizens stepping forward to do something extra to improve the lives of others. Keep paying it forward, doing random acts of kindness and checking on your neighbours! WAY TO GO VANDERHOOF!