VIMSS Fundraiser Packs Curling Club
Families and supporters packed the Comox Valley Curling Club in April for the annual Vancouver Island Mountain Sports Society’s Fundraiser.
The theme was Red and White, and the crowd got into it with their reddest and whitest Olympic and Canadian gear; everything from red sweatpants and white golf shirts to red dresses and white ball caps.
Fun events included skiing with a twist and wheeled luge. Gold, silver and chocolate medals were handed out.
Olympic stars for the evening were Paralympian Braydon Luscombe of Duncan, who competed in Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games, and Yvonne Visser, a 1992 Olympic biathlete and a regular volunteer for both the Paralympic and able-bodied games since then. Luscombe is a past VIMSS-funded athlete who has trained and competed at Mount Washington Alpine Resort.
Visser was instrumental in bringing international athletes to Mount Washington prior to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
“I’ve seen the Olympics from both points of view,” said Visser, a Nanaimo resident and Level 3 coach who also does massage for some of Canada’s Winter Olympic teams. “I feel very strongly about what you are creating.”
Visser said it cost Canadian athletes roughly $8,000 to be a part of the National Team, and fundraising efforts such as that of VIMSS is integral in helping athletes earn their spots on national teams.
The real stars of the evening were the athletes for whom VIMSS raises funds. “We have been blessed in our community to have some gifted athletes and VIMSS has been a part of that,” said MC Don Sharpe, a founding member of the Mountain Sports Society.
VIMSS has funded more than 70 athletes since its inception 10 years ago, paying $89,000 back to emerging athletes to help offset costs associated with travelling off-Island to compete and attend advanced training events.
“The annual Spring Gala Event is the biggest fundraiser of the year,” VIMSS Chair Karen Bonell said.
There are six athletes who were awarded VIMSS grants last winter: Teal Harle (freestyle skiing), Campbell River; Mei Pond (Freestyle Skiing), Nanaimo; Avalon Wastenays (Nordic Skiing), Campbell River; Thomas Bergvinson (Slopestyle Snowboard), Courtenay; Mel Pemble (Para-Alpine Skiing), Victoria and Maja Nymann (Alpine Skiing), Campbell River.
For more information on VIMSS, please go online to www.vimountaincentre.com.