National Bank Easter Seals Waves Regatta – Racing for a Great Cause

The National Bank Easter Seals Waves Regatta returns to the waters of English Bay on June 23 and 24, 2012 and participants are already talking up the fun and excitement of this charity fund-raiser. “I’m the semi-official photographer,” explains Lynn Gordon of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, the host Club. “Not only are there great crowds and close racing, it’s such a worthwhile cause. You cannot help just feeling good about the whole day.”

The funds raised in this annual event are critical to the BC Lions Society for Children with Disabilities and their work on behalf of kids with special needs. The major recipient of the funds raised is Easter Seals House, a special place for families to stay while their children receive much needed medical care.

On Oak Street in Vancouver, near Children’s Hospital, Easter Seals House provides comfortable overnight accommodation for families when in Vancouver for a child to have medical treatments. With 49 self-contained suites, each with a kitchenette, Easter Seals House is a welcoming place where families can be close by without incurring the high cost and impersonal atmosphere of a hotel.

The annual cost of running Easter Seals House is almost $800,000, and with no government subsidies, donors to the BC Lions Society make up the operating budget. The Easter Seals Regatta is a major contributor to this worthwhile facility. Moms and Dads pay only a modest $20 per day for a suite and the facility is well used, with more than 32,000 stays per year.

With a 52-year history, the BC Lions Society is justifiably proud of its Easter Seals Houses; houses in Victoria and Prince George are included in this family of special residences.

A participating family from the BC Interior was pleased to tell their story to us recently. Their eldest daughter, now age nine, was diagnosed with cancer three years ago. She needs treatments each lasting four days about three times yearly. They stay at Easter Seals House and it is a welcome respite.

“We were so thrilled to find Easter Seals House. We had first tried a hotel but it was so impersonal, to say nothing about expensive. Then the BC Cancer Agency suggested Easter Seals House and we have stayed there ever since. It’s almost like a second home to us. We cannot tell you all how welcome this place is. Thank you.”

The Regatta solicits support through event sponsorship and from participants, each of whom is asked to recruit a sponsor for their boat. Event sponsors include the title sponsor, National Bank and marine suppliers such as Helly Hansen and the BC Marine Trades Association as well as non-marine organizations such as Thrifty Foods, Cloverdale Paints, and media sponsors Shaw, GlobalBC and CKNW. Also sponsoring is Canadian Yachting West.

Regatta organizers are actively recruiting skippers and boat sponsors for this year’s event. Sailors can participate in either competitive keelboat or dinghy classes, or the less competitive Easter Seals Cup race. The event will feature five race courses, and 16 fleets; ORC CLUB, PHRF BC, PHRF NW, Cal 20, Dragon, Martin 242, Melges 24, Star, Club 420, 29er, Laser, Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, Optimist, Optimist Green, and Tasar.

A company or an individual may sponsor a boat. There are three levels of boat sponsorship – $500, $1000, and $1500 –each with their own benefits and charitable tax receipt.

After the first day of racing, skippers, their crew, family and friends are invited back on land for the post-race festivities in Hastings Mill Park, including a barbecue, live music, kid’s activities, silent auction and awards and prizing.

For information or to register online visit www.eastersealswavesregatta.ca

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