I wrote this as an email today and after reading it, I felt it would also make a great blog post. Enjoy.
As of today I have raised just over $7,000 for BC Children’s Hospital and I will be carrying around 70 Flags of Hope up the mountain with me. The messages on these flags range from “Good Luck”, to messages of hope for those who are sick, to expressions of gratitude towards Children’s Hospital. It is quite amazing. As a team of 10 climbers, we have raised around $70,000 and over the next week, I expect that will likely rise.
Last Thursday I was able to see the direct impact of our fundraising at the Mountain of Toys event at BCCH. Summits donated $5,000 worth of toys that the children in the hospital are able to use over the course of their stay. There were Wii stations and games, Playstations, iPads, board games, action figures, you name it. This is an annual contribution that Summits makes to the Hospital program. As well we met Daniel, a paediatric research specialist whose position is funded by Summits donations. Daniel is from North Carolina and his work focuses on developing new therapies for brain tumours in children.
We also met Lisa, a Child Life Specialist whose position is also funded through Summits of Hope donations. Her role is in oncology where she connects with the kids to educate them on their experience and uses play therapy to help them adapt to their life circumstances. She mentioned the donation of iPads had allowed her to put the massive binders of information she presents to the kids aside, and use iPads, which are much less overwhelming for the children.Throughout my fundraising I have been struck by the generosity of people. I contacted people in my various networks/communities and so many people have either donated or provided words of support, no matter how long it has been since I have seen them. The school I taught at in England in 2001 has connected with me as they study explorers/adventurers. In Tokyo two schools have come on the Summits bandwagon. I have donations from Vietnam, England, Japan, Australia and across Canada. At a fundraiser in Richmond parents of a student I taught my first year of teaching came out in support, as did our Superintendent and many of the Ridgeview staff. It has been a very humbling experience.One of the highlights of this experience for me has been watching students take action. I talked from the beginning of the power behind kids helping kids and I’ve really been proud to watch the students take that step. There have been students across the grade levels running lemonade stands, selling popsicles, making and selling God’s Eyes, weeding for donations, giving over their piggy banks and having birthday parties where they ask for donations rather than gifts. It has been incredible how these students have connected to the climb and their ability to make a difference. Then there is the whole Ridgeview community which has been extremely generous.
Now with only one week left I look forward to the students being able to follow my progress. I will be making daily phone calls to the school on our Sat phone to describe the experience. Most students have also been provided with pedometers over the past week and I will be taking a pedometer up the mountain myself. Each day the students will be able to compare their steps to mine as they “climb the mountain with me”.
I look forward to sharing stories when I return but if you would like to follow my climb as it happens, here is my blog where things will be updated over the next few weeks http://summitsofhope.com/climbers-details.asp?ClimberID=332.