Rotarians and the rest of the community will get on their feet to help those who face mobility issues.
Once again this year, the two local clubs – Rotary Club of Campbell River and Campbell River Daybreak Rotary Club – will be combining their efforts with Dancing & Tapas on March 16. The annual fundraiser supports Rotary work to provide wheelchairs to people in other countries who need them.
The campaign is always working two years ahead, to give time to make sure all the logistical issues are handled with Rotary’s international partners. Typically, Rotary works with non-governmental organizations (NGO) to procure and distribute the wheelchairs.
“We’ve travelled extensively with those wheelchairs to South America, Asia. We’re going this year to Moldova and Romania,” says event co-chair Ian Baikie. “We partner with Rotary Clubs around the world and work with NGOs to provide us with wheelchairs at … really amazing costs.”
This year, the funds will eventually go to provide chairs in Ukraine, while Rotarians will be making a trip in June to help distribute chairs in the East European countries of Moldova and Romania from a previous event. Last year’s funds will go to help people in Kenya. Rotarians and their partners will also be working physiotherapists on this year’s trip to offer hospital training in working with the chairs.
“They volunteer their time and travel,” says Baikie.
Many of the new chairs are becoming easier for a person with mobility challenges or their families to adjust. The plan for the local Rotary clubs is to raise at least $40,000 through the event to cover the costs to ship about 200 chairs each year – usually enough to fill a shipping crate.
“Different Rotary members go,” says Baikie. “Everyone goes on their own coin. The fundraiser only provides the hardware.”
Baikie, himself, has travelled on campaigns to countries such as Bali, Vietnam and Guatemala.
“I’m quite hooked on this thing, I love it,” he says.
The experience, he says, is to rewarding when you see how people and their families are able to recover some mobility, in some cases after many years.
“It just changes their lives,” he adds.
To raise the money, Rotary invites the community to come out to Dancing & Tapas on Saturday, March 16 to raise funds for the wheelchair campaign. This year for the first time, the event is taking place at the Campbell River Community Centre. It starts at 5:30 p.m.
Quay West is providing tapas stations for food, so guests will travel from table to table to sample the different appetizers. There are plans for traditional Ukrainian dancing and music in light of the destination for this year’s fundraising efforts. There will also be a silent auction.
“We have a number of beautiful auction items,” Baikie says. “It’s one of our biggest sources of funding.”
Then, at 9 p.m., the band Time Well Wasted takes to the stage to get people on their feet for the rest of the evening.
“Nobody sits … such a great dancing band,” he says. “They keep people out of their seats.”
The band is a 12-piece classic rock/funk/R&B band with a horn section, three female lead singers with three-part harmonies, and it covers classic ‘70s and ‘80s tunes by Earth Wind and Fire, Chicago, Stevie Wonder, Tower of Power, Donna Summer and the Pointer Sisters, among others.
The Campbell River Community Centre is located at 401-11 Ave. Tickets for Dancing & Tapas are available this year at the EventBrite website. They are $60 each and people should bring along a bottle of wine to donate for the evening’s wine draw.