From April 17 to 21, 32 teams of curlers from as far as Australia, the United States and the Yukon gathered at the Richmond Curling Club for the 14th annual Pacific International Cup (PIC).
For Spinal Cord Injury BC (SCI BC), the organizers of the PIC, the curlers and all our lovely volunteers, this certainly was a historic event.
It was SCI BC’s fifth year as the PIC’s official charity, and this year the PIC organizing committee met one of their ultimate goals: they raised a grand total of $100,000 for Spinal Cord Injury BC, over the course of five years!
Chris McBride, SCI BC’s executive director, and the whole staff were elated when they heard the news:
“Spinal Cord Injury BC is eternally grateful to the members of the PIC organizing committee, who, year after year, demonstrate their generosity and support for our programs. It is rare to have such a dedicated and welcoming group of individuals support us at such a consistently high level over such a long period of time. Their support and enthusiasm also spills over to the volunteers and curlers who help make the PIC such a success. We are so pleased to have this unique relationship with the PIC Organizing Committee,” says Chris.
The work of great leaders
Jim Mann, who spoke on behalf of the PIC Organizing Committee, was quick to point out that it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of The Dominion Curling Club Championship, and all the hard work of the event volunteers, and the curlers themselves.
“Each year, all the individual curling teams contribute items to the silent auction that each individual curler participates in as well, so we have to recognize all their great work,” says Jim.
However, the biggest contributor to this great sum was definitely The Dominion:
“None of this would have happened without the leadership and incredible generous corporate attitude of The Dominion. They have done this thing all across Canada and the role that company plays in the support of curling and spinal cord injury organizations is just absolutely awesome,” says Jim.
Sonja Gaudet makes an impression
While The Dominion has a huge influence on a national level, on a personal level, it’s always the individual leaders and volunteers who make the biggest impact.
SCI BC’s Vernon Peer Coordinator Sonja Gaudet—who is Canada’s most decorated wheelchair curler, a Paralympic Champion and a recent inductee to the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame—made quite an impact with her speech during the opening banquet.
“When Sonja speaks, you can hear a pin drop,” says Jim. “She always gives an exceptional presentation and her ability to link her personal experience into the role of curling and the role of SCI BC was incredibly compelling. It brought up a few tears in the place. She really is awesome.”
More than 35 volunteers keep the event alive
All together, including all the SCI BC volunteers and the PIC volunteers, there were more than 35 volunteers involved in planning and running this amazing event—many of them returning volunteers from years past.
The most dedicated volunteers are without a doubt all the members of the PIC Organizing Committee, who began planning the event behind the scenes months ahead of time under the leadership of Jim Schuman, Jim Mann and Wayne Braun.
If you were on the ground though, there were at least two people who might have caught your eye: Katherine Johnson and Vicki Lockwood.
Every year Katherine spends her days at the PIC sewing badges on team jerseys, and every year she donates all her proceeds back to SCI BC. She feels passionately about the work that we do at SCI BC and we feel just as passionate about her support!
Meanwhile, Vicki sold 50/50 tickets for us at the PIC all day, every day from the 17th to the 20th. She’s been on the PIC Committee for 14 years and was amongst the few SCI BC volunteers who spent more than 28 hours volunteering for us over course of the event.
She told us later what keeps her motivated to dedicate her time to our cause:
“About a year ago, our son was in a near fatal accident. He broke his neck, he broke his back, he had broken ribs, he had so many internal injuries it was ridiculous. It was a long haul. He was in the hospital for almost three months at a spinal cord injury rehab station in Australia,” says Vicki. “He can walk now, but we saw some of the things that they did at the rehab centre for people and the things we saw really impressed us. How much research and how much effort was put into people to bring them back so they don’t feel that their life is over.”
“So because of our son, and how lucky we are that he’s okay, we all feel—myself and my husband and my son and I—that it’s just so important to make sure that people who didn’t recover like he did still feel that their lives aren’t over. To let them know they’re worth it. It’s just such an important cause and it’s just so worth it that we want to do whatever we can to help out.”
Here’s a huge shout out to Katherine, Vicki and all our other volunteers. This event wouldn’t have been possible without you, and it certainly wouldn’t have gone down with such flair.
On behalf of everyone here at Spinal Cord Injury BC, thank you for your continued dedication and hard work!
And the winners are…
Congratulations to both winning teams who will be representing BC at The Dominion Curling Club Championship in Thunder Bay from November 18 to 23.
PIC Women’s Champs:
PIC Men’s Champs: