Eat, drink, paint!

Five Fernie women are fundraising to participate in the Freedom Climb in Colorado this July.  - Thomas Hopkins
Five Fernie women are fundraising to participate in the Freedom Climb in Colorado this July.
— image credit: Thomas Hopkins

75 women ate, drank, and painted their way through an evening at The Arts Station to raise funds for five Fernie women participating in the Freedom Climb.

The Freedom Climb invites women from all over the world to meet up in Breckenridge, Colorado to summit seven mountains and over 14,000 feet in elevation in four days. Local ladies Ramona Gliege, Maureen Thrnn, Mary Shier, Kim Hopkins, and Kristy Schmidt make up Team B.C. and are off to Colorado to participate in this year's climb from July 12 to 18.

“The Freedom Climb is women advocating for women, and what we do is bring awareness by climbing mountains. It's for an organization, OM, Operation Mobilization, which is an international organization that has specific freedom climb projects throughout the world that we donate money to,” explained Ramona Gliege, Freedom Climb Team B.C member. “It might be a micro loan for someone to buy a sewing machine to get them into their own business, it's educating women and children... there's also rescue and rehabilitation for sex trafficking... It's a really amazing program.”

She went on to say, “It goes from the spectrum of saving and counselling, to actually educating and letting them stand on their own two feet. The motto is that we're advocating for those that don't have a voice; those that are enslaved, oppressed, and trafficked.”

Team B.C. hosted Eat, Drink, Paint on Thursday, May 8 to raise awareness and funds for the climb. Local artist Emily Beckett Aarsen taught the women in attendance how to paint a mountain scene and refreshments were enjoyed by all. Local businesses donated to the silent auction and at the end of the night, the ladies had raised over $5,000 for their cause.

Freedom Climb Team B.C. will continue to fundraise with another event next month. Everyone is invited to a piano/singing concert at Mountainside Church, June 24 at 7 pm. Admission is by donation. For more information on the concert, contact Ramona Gliege at


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