Nick King

Vice-principal dresses up as a woman for Variety

Campbell River's Laird Ruehlen came to school Friday dressed as a woman

It was a day Carihi students won’t soon forget.

Their vice-principal, Laird Ruehlen, came to school last Friday dressed as a woman, complete with a black dress, blond curly hair and a long, flowing white feather boa.

It wasn’t Halloween rather the fallout from being on the losing end of a fundraising campaign to help one of his students.

Nick King, who’s fundraising efforts for Variety-The Children’s Charity were profiled in the Mirror in September, challenged his fellow students at Carihi to a coin drive.

The result?

“Gals challenged the guys, with the losing team seeing a staff member dress up as the opposite sex for a day,” said Juli Winstanley, Skills For Life staff.

“Vice-Principal Laird Ruehlen adorned a dress, stockings, wig, and a boa much to the delight of students and staff.”

More importantly, King raised $200 through the coin drive to raise his community total to $7,000, which has surpassed his goal of $3,600.

King was chosen to be one of Variety’s Coin Kids and had his tin cans set up at local businesses over the last two months to help give back to Variety, which helps children with special needs.

King also had his own webpage with Variety so people could make donations online.

King, who was born with Down syndrome and uses a talking board to communicate, was given a customized bike, valued at $3,600, from Variety about a year ago and the family was eager to give back as a token of its appreciation.

“I just jumped at the chance,” said mom Allison King.

“What a great way to give back. They gave us such a great gift, we had to help. We knew it was something we had to do. He has a bike.

“Everyone needs a bike.”

The bike has allowed King, who is in Grade 10 and attends Carihi’s Skills for Life Program, to join his parents and younger sister on their weekend bike rides.

Allison said the bike has also improved her son’s health – his muscles have gotten stronger from pedalling the bike.

“He has low gross motor in his legs,” she said.

“My husband and daughter would go out and do their thing on the weekend and me and Nick would stay home because we couldn’t go far.

“Now we’re all out enjoying family time together.”