Shon Cottrill

Flex fundraiser to benefit paralympian

On Apr. 30, The Pub will be hosting the Flex’s Road to Rio Fundraiser.

On Apr. 30, The Pub will be hosting the Flex’s Road to Rio Fundraiser. From noon until night, there will be events and activities, with all proceeds going toward sending once-local Shon “Flex” Cottrill to the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics.

“Flex’s Fundraiser is an event to raise money to help Shon Cottrill, aka Flex, go to the Paralympics this summer in Rio de Janeiro. Flex is a former Fernie local, who’s always been a very avid extreme whitewater kayaker. In 2013, Flex was paralyzed while seal launching his kayak at Lake Koocanusa,” said The Pub’s Manager, Eveliene Eijsermans. “At the time, Flex’s prognosis looked grim and he was looking at life in a wheelchair. Flex decided to not give up and keep doing what he loved, kayaking. Two and a half years later he’s the reigning Canadian Paralympic Sprint Kayak Champion.”

Before his Paralympic dream is possible, the kayaker must qualify in Germany. According to Eijsermans, proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward the athletes training and travel expenses.

“To make his way to Rio he needs to post a qualifying time at time trials and compete at the World Sprint Kayak Championships in Germany at the end of May, where he needs to make finals to be chosen for Rio. The fundraiser is meant to help Flex cover his training and travel expenses,” she said.

The event will feature many activities, including bake sales, a dunk tank and live music.

“The fundraiser will be a mini outdoor carnival style festival, during the day. We’re having a garage sale, a bake sale, a bouncy castle, a dunk tank, an outdoor beer garden, BBQ, a cotton candy machine, local vendors and there will be music outside. The day’s activities will run from noon till 6 p.m.,” said Eijsermans. “At 8 p.m. we will be holding a live auction in The Pub, which many local businesses have been willing to donate to. At 9 p.m. we’ll kick off a dance party with many local DJ’s. The DJ’s are willing to put their payment straight to the fundraiser.”

There was a garage sale in the past for Flex and the event raised approximately $5,000. A Park Place Lodge employee brought the idea to Eijsermans with the idea of making it bigger and better. The Park Place Lodge has requested a street closure and an increase to their liquor license area for the day in hopes to send Flex to the Paralympics.

“Jenn Johnson, a staff member, approached me and told me about Flex’s chance to make it to Rio this summer and that she’d love to have another fundraiser. But, she said, this time I’d like to see it big. And that’s what we did,” Eijsermans said, “We’ve approached the City, to close off the street for the day, the Pub extended their licensed area to outside for the day, the amount of donations by local businesses is overwhelming. It’s just been amazing so far, and we’re really hoping for this day to be a huge success.”

There are many ways to help the event, including volunteering, donations and enjoying the fundraising events.

“We’ve already got a good team of volunteers together, but the more the merrier, so any help is appreciated even if it’s just for an hour, or maybe for the full day. The easiest way [to volunteer] is to get in touch with myself, via Evelienee@parkplacelodge.com or (250) 423-6871 and ask for Eveliene,” she said. “Don’t feel like volunteering, and already done your spring cleaning and nothing left to donate? Come hang out for the day, watch someone get dunked, have a refreshing Fernie Brewing Company beer, buy some goodies at the garage sale or enjoy something from the BBQ or bake sale.”

According to Eijsermans, The Pub and Park Place Lodge are all about making relationships within the community.

“The Pub loves to be involved in the community and one of the main goals of The Pub is to create relationships,” she said. “In my mind there’s no better way of bringing people together than to share our love for this community by helping out a former Fernie local like we’re trying to do with this fundraiser.”

Donations for the garage sale are welcomed and are encouraged to be dropped off up to Apr. 29.