Nearly $8,000 raised during Family Fun Derby

Kootenay Family Fishing Derby supports children with cancer.

JCI Kootenay (a branch of Junior Chamber International), Fort Steele Heritage Town and Family Fishing Derby sponsors are being thanked for a successful Family Fun Derby at Fort Steele after unseasonably warm weather spoiled plans for the traditional ice fishing event at Horseshoe Lake.

In place of the Family Fishing Derby, JCI Kootenay and Fort Steele teamed up earlier this March to host an active, outdoor event for children and families across the Kootenays. The Fun Derby kept participants entertained with a host of games and contests, including children’s mystery catch, bean bag toss, sack race, arts and crafts, tug-o-war, three legged races, wagon rides and a scavenger hunt. The Wildhorse Theatre also featured two showings of the popular animated movie Penguins of Madagascar. For the adults, there was an adult fly casting competition, silent auction, door prizes and a 50/50 draw. Hot coffee, hot chocolate and chilli were generously provided by Cranbrook Tim Hortons.

In addition to fundraising over $7,700, local sponsors made dreams come true for local children. Dean and Tracey Uphill of Dacota Freight sponsored a trip to Disneyland for Elkford cancer survivor Evan Payne-Smuin and his family; this is a legacy Dean and Tracey have generously continued every year the Derby has been held.

Sunshine Houseboats Ltd. sponsored a houseboat vacation for cancer survivor Austin Fahselt from Jaffray.

The winners of the children’s mystery catch included Tayton Robison, Ronan Hong, Jack Dakin, Liam Temple and Dan Lunn. Six year old Tayton Robison from Kimberly won a 55” Plasma TV and 10-year-old Ronan Hong from Cranbrook won the PlayStation system, both courtesy of Caliper Machine & Hydraulics. Rick Hedrick was serendipitously the winner of both 50/50 draws along with the adult fly casting competition.

The annual derby is a fundraiser to support children and families with cancer. Lynnette Wray, Canadian Cancer Society Team Lead for Financial Support Programs expresses her appreciation to all involved, stating “JCI Kootenay did an amazing job with this event, adjusting to some very challenging circumstances, in terms of the warm weather. It was so generous of Fort Steele to step forward to provide an alternate location; that was an amazing example of our East Kootenay community spirit. The funds raised by JCI Kootenay will be used to assist people with their travel and accommodation expenses to attend cancer treatment, through our Canadian Cancer Society Financial Support Program. The Financial Support Program is very well used in the Kootenays, due to our distance from major cancer treatment centres in B.C., such as Kelowna and Vancouver, as well as Alberta treatment centres in Calgary and Lethbridge.”

After an unusually mild winter, many of the winter-oriented fundraising events were cancelled across the province. Wray noted the Canadian Cancer Society is especially grateful for the alternative Fun Derby.

“On behalf of the Canadian Cancer Society, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to JCI Kootenay, Fort Steele, all the businesses and organizations that donated to the event, and everyone who attended,” Wray said. “We look forward to an even bigger and better event next year.”

With a better winter, the event will return to the ice next year.