Jakeb Shand and Dustin Pongracz race around the field between Saturday games.

Firefighters have fun raising money for muscular dystrophy

With early estimates having last weekend’s muscular dystrophy efforts raising nearly $45,000, key organizer Nick Sohye is deeming the event a great success.

With early estimates having last weekend’s muscular dystrophy efforts raising nearly $45,000, key organizer Nick Sohye is deeming the event a great success.

“We’ve done really well,” he said. “We had a couple injuries, which is disappointing.”

The injuries came as a result of on-field collisions during a couple of the many slo-pitch baseball games that filled out last weekend’s festivities.

During a Friday night game, two Ladysmith players crashed into one another. As of Sunday afternoon, one of the players was still being observed in-hospital, with cracked ribs nicking a kidney.

Another collision, Saturday, had a Cowichan Bay player taken to the hospital in an ambulance as a precautionary measure. He’s since been released, Sohye said.

The two weekend injuries didn’t put too much of a damper on the event as a whole, with sports, drinks, and laughs being shared throughout the festivities.

Saturday’s annual auction alone brought in $35,000 for the local Mesachie Group charity, which raises money for muscular dystrophy.

The auction is anything but a traditional one. Many fire departments place their own memorabilia up for auction, bidding on the items themselves with money they’ve raised through various fund-raisers throughout the year.

The weekend’s fun fund-raising effort began Thursday, June 16, with a parade throughout the Cowichan Valley, during which time they managed to collect about $1,270 from pedestrian supporters.

The parade also resulted in RCMP collecting $385 and issuing six demerit points against a frustrated driver who chose to swerve toward the parade’s participants while yelling profanities. With permits and lead and back trucks all in order, the parade’s participants were quick to provide RCMP with statements and the aggressive driver’s plates. The driver was ticketed before the group reached the parade’s end at Mesachie Lake.

The slo-pitch games wrapped up Sunday afternoon, with the final game going down between Duncan and Lake Cowichan; a game resulting in Duncan’s first win in its 32-year history of competing in the tournament.

It has been a rich history, long-time Mesachie Lake volunteer Val Pawlik said, during a heartfelt thank you to participants and organizers, after the tournament had concluded.

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you,” she said, adding that it’s been a special event every year it’s been going on.

It’s not only local volunteers that have recognized the Mesachie Group and their efforts. Muscular Dystrophy Canada has named the charity the best in the $40,000-$50,000 range, as well as the best multi-department effort.

The most sportsmanlike team of the tournament was Youbou, and the most valuable player was Lake Cowichan’s Tyler Knott.

New to this year’s tournament, in addition to getting a name on a plaque, from henceforth the most valuable player will have $100 donated in their name to the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation, on behalf of the Cowichan Bay Fire Department.

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