On Saturday night I was fortunate enough to attend The Black Diamond Gala the annual fundraiser for BC Adaptive Snow Sports. This is the first one I have been to, but wow i was blown away. The energy in the room was catching, this was started by walking in the the incredible venue, The Westin Bayshore, such a stunning venue and very fitting for such an amazing charity. The MC for the night was none of then the “Bro” Jake Edwards, the charismatic personality kept us all laughing and engaged all night. The Auctioneer, Fred Lee… If anyone needs ski lessons or “snow skiing” lesson he probably isn’t the person but if you need someone to ensure fun is had and auction items go, he is the man, i have never laughed so hard during a gala in my life.
Dick Taylor….. I have never met Dick but listening to his story and how he has helped establish Sun Peaks Adaptive program was inspiring. Dicks vision was to ensure “No child wa left behind” this is why he was awarded the first ever leadership excellence award. I would love to talk in detail about Dicks work but I do not feel i could do it justice, So i am hoping i can connect with Dick on my Journey and get him to talk to me a bit more in depth so you can understand why cornerstones of the community like Dick are so important in ensuring adaptive sports are available for all.
There were two other people I met at the Gala, the poor souls got the place next to me at the table lol, as Forest and his wife Cassy rocked up, they must have wondered how the hell they ended up next to this English guy that talks too much. Now, I didnt know Forest or Cassy or what they do or have done, they were just nice people that sat next to us and were supporting adaptive snowsports.
Forest is in a wheelchair, as we was mid way talking about how he was enjoying sit skiing at his local mountain of Panorama, the MC invited Forest to the stage to speak……
I was already captured by this mans positivity and his passion for adventure and the outdoors, but I listened his story, it hit home with me. Forest was skiing with his friends and on his way back to the resort centre, the snow gave way and he double ejected leaving him with injuries that meant he would be in a wheelchair. Forest has always been a lover of the outdoors, biking, hiking and skiing from a young age, so this was just part of his life that he knew. This could have been anyone of us, I think back to countless days of tired legs and huge smiles with friends coming back after that last epic run, never could you dream that something would happen.
For Forest, BC Adaptive and the community that run Panorama Adaptive Snow Sports (PASS) have given him a chance to ski with his family again! This is incredible and makes me realise that the trip, awareness and funds I am looking to raise is 110% going to the right place and the right people.
Cassy, she may have thought she has gotten away with not being mentioned, but behind that lovely smile and the hint of her Aussie accent, is a women that has been so important and supportive, it is easy to forget that life is a team sport, it doesnt have to be an incredible husband and wife team like these guys, it can be friends, mentors, instructors the community or the Adaptive family as a whole, but the one thing that links us all is our passion to see the smiles on peoples face when they are doing something they love.
My wife and I will be going out to Panorama Resort to ski with these guys, and personally i am going to say this is one i am most looking forward to. Not only skiing with Forest, Casey and family, but to have a beer afterwards laughing and joking about the days skiing, no different to any other group of skiers in the world (except we will prob all be wearing Stripes gear Cassy, do you do extra long and gangly for me?).
Huge Thank you to the Staff at BCAS: Jason Campbell, Fannie Smith, Corinne Risler and Susan Hughes for all they do, and also a huge thank you to the gala committee: Jade Hume, Johnny Lyall, Kasey Nishimura, Tim Orr, Alex Orr and Donovan Tindesley.
*When I ski with Forest and Cassy I will get the exact words and story 100% correct, while i dont mind shortening it so you get the idea i do not wish to get any of it factually wrong, and I feel it is a story that Forest should share in his own words so you can hear and see why supporting this great cause is a great thing to do.