Fundraiser raises thousands for paralympian

On Apr. 30, The Pub hosted Flex’s Road to Rio Fundraiser with the aim of raising money for ex-Fernie local, Shon Cottrill.

Eveliene Eijsermans

On Apr. 30, The Pub hosted Flex’s Road to Rio Fundraiser with the aim of raising money for ex-Fernie local, Shon ‘Flex’ Cottrill to help offset some of the cost for travelling and competing at the Paralympics kayaking time trials that will be hosted in Germany. The goal was to raise between $5,000 and $10,000 and they met that goal, raising over $8,000, the bulk of that coming from the live auction.

“The count is currently at $8,006.55 but there are a couple people who couldn’t make it and wanted to do a direct deposit, so the end count is even going to be a little more than that,” said The Pub’s manager, Eveliene Eijsermans. “The most money was raised during the Live Auction in the evening. Thanks to all the generous donations from businesses around town, we were able to raise at least $4,000, with just the live auction.”

The live auction had many donations from people and businesses in the area.

“A very nice townie bike donated by Gear Hub, two Wapiti tickets and a ticket for Shambala Music Festival. Also a day of rafting with Canyon Raft Company and a beautiful piece of art donated by tattoo artist Liam Monahan,” she said in regards to what was donated by local businesses.

Throughout the evening, Flex was with the event via video chat. While Flex could not be heard through the speakers, he wrote many notes to interact with the events participants.

“Flex could hear us and he was communicating with us by writing memos. It was as if he was there – a very cool way to interact and have him involved,” Eijsermans said. “After the live auction we were able to have the volume on Facetime and actually hear Flex. He thanked Fernie for being the best town in the world and shared a little bit of his experience of getting injured with us. He inspired people to never give up, because you’re always able to reach the goals you have, as long as you believe in yourself. And, having so many amazing people around you keeps you going as well.”

While Eijsermans could not count the crowd in the day, the evening’s activities had around 200 people in attendance.

“The day activities never got really crowded, but were definitely steady throughout the day. It was really fun to see families come out with their kids. The bouncy castle was a huge success and definitely busiest the first couple hours of the event,” she said. “Throughout the day we must have hit around 200 people and The Pub in the evening was really steady with around 140 people on and off.”

The event had many activities and Eijsermans had a tough time picking a favourite for the day, but her choice for the evening was the live auction.

“The outdoor activities were really fun and there were people hanging out everywhere. It was great to see that we had people of all ages enjoying either the bouncy castle, finding good buys at the garage sale or having a burger from the BBQ,” she said. “I must say the dunk tank was a good edition and made for some good laughs. Especially the first person to get dunked – Ross Janzen, got dunked right with the first ball. Totally unexpected and so fun.”

Not long after, Eijsermans was also sitting on the dunk tank plank.

“It was actually a very fun experience to sit up there, not knowing when you’ll hit the water. Luckily the sun was on my side and came out for a bit. Something to check off on my bucket list, getting dunked for a good cause.”

The day would not have been a success without all the people and businesses that helped with the event, according to Eijsermans.

“I would like to add a huge thank you to the City of Fernie for approving our outdoor event. Also all the volunteers who helped us make this day work and run smooth, all the local businesses who donated. And a special thanks to the Roller Derby Girls for helping out and run the dunk tank and bouncy castle safe, smooth and fun.”