Event raises funds for disabled kids
For the Bouillon family, Snowarama is a family tradition.
Gilles and Kathryn Bouillon attended Snowarama Feb. 2 with their 15-year-old daughter, Brianne, as they've been doing since Brianne was a small child.
“She's been doing this for nine or 10 years now,” Gilles said. “The first couple of years, she won the youngest rider prize.”
He said he enjoys the camaraderie among the Snowarama riders, as well as the novelty of sledding with a large group.
“It's not too often you get to ride with 20, 30, 60 sleds,” Gilles said. “If you go out with friends, you might be a half a dozen or a dozen people, but it's not a big group.”
For the 38th annual event, 60 snowmobilers rode on Ontario Federation of Snowmobile groomed trails from the Valley East Lions Club in Hanmer to Rocky's on Lake Wanapitei, and back.
Afterwards, participants were treated to a free lunch at the Lions Club hall.
Snowarama raises money for Easter Seals, which provides the families of children with physical disabilities with financial assistance for mobility devices, such as walkers, braces and wheelchairs.
The charity also offers fully-accessible camps and alternative recreational programs.
Joanne Bowers, special events specialist with Easter Seals Ontario, said the event raised $25,000, and her organization was hoping to match or exceed that amount this year.
Participants raise pledges, and also have the opportunity to put in bids in a silent auction, she said.
Thanks to donations from local businesses, every rider receives a prize. Special prizes are earmarked for the youngest and oldest rider, as well as the rider who raises the most money.
“It's a good way to get out and enjoy the day with your friends and family, and raise money to help kids with disabilities,” Bowers said.
For Cindy and Darren Farley, Snowarama marked their third time ever out on the trails, as they just bought a snowmobile this year. The couple said they were invited to participate in the event by their neighbours.
Cindy said she's a strong supporter of Easter Seals because she works at Community Living Greater Sudbury, which provides services to developmentally-delayed adults.
“They're all very, very special, and if that was your child, you'd want an organization like this to help support them as well,” she said.
For more information about Easter Seals, visit www.easterseals.org or phone 705-566-8858.