On Wednesday of this week, I will set out on an ambitious six-day 330 kilometre trek in an effort to raise money for Okanagan College Salmon Arm student Gary Baker, who suffered a massive brain aneurism last year while playing soccer in Kelowna and who is currently struggling to recover in Vancouver General Hospital, where he has undergone nine major surgeries and innumerable other treatments for the past year, and where he remains in critical condition.
His recovery could take many more months or possily even years, which places a huge financial strain on the Bakers in addition to their more pressing concerns about Gary's health. I've known Gary and his family - many of whom are, or have been, OC students - for several years now. They are exceptional folks, and ever since I heard about the accident I have been moved by a deep sense of compassion and solidarity to want to do something to help make their lives a little easier while they deal with this tragedy. I was also inspired by the unbelievable support the Bakers received when I attempted something shorter last summer.
Last year, I walked from the Penticton campus to Kelowna, then Vernon, then Salmon Arm in three days. With the help of hundreds of amazing community members we were collectively able to raise almost $14,000 for the Bakers. This year, in the hopes of exceeding that target, I've raised the degree of difficulty, and am going to attempt to double that distance. I'm leaving the Salmon Arm campus on Wednesday August 30th and will walk to Penticton and back to Salmon Arm, stopping at each OC campus along the way, and hopefully crawling back to my home campus on Monday September 4th.
Although I love to hike, this will be the furthest I have ever walked, and by by some measure: I will average 55 kilometres per day and I will try very hard indeed to do that for six days in a row. As was the case last year, I will be posting photographs of my progress every few hours on the "Campus to Campus Fundraising Walk" Facebook page so sponsors and supporters can send messages and follow along the way.
My goal this year is to raise $15,000 or more. Every dollar of sponsorship that you provide will go directly to the Baker family to help them cover their daily living expenses while they help Gary fight his way back to good health.
My experience has always been that my friends, my family and my colleagues in the Okanagan College community and the region we serve are generous and understand that we are obliged to help those who need our help if we are able to do so. I hope you will consider sponsoring me, or sponsoring me again, so that together we can do something to help this young family in their time of great need.
- Jason & Joanna Choi
- Jennifer Gustar
- jacqui gingras
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