A Chilliwack mother and daughter are gearing up to race, jump, climb and crawl to thank the charitable organization that’s supported them over the years.
Daena Van Agteren and her 14-year old daughter Rebecca will be taking part Woman2Warrior, a women’s charity obstacle adventure race to support Easter Seals.
The Van Agteren family will often reside in Easter Seals House in Vancouver when they are required to stay overnight for Rebecca’s tests or treatment at B.C. Children’s Hospital.
Rebecca, who has epilepsy as well as some challenges with comprehension and motor skills, has also been attending Easter Seals camp nearly every year since her parents adopted her from Haiti in 2008.
This isn’t the first time that this family has given back to Easter Seals.
Back in September, Daena and her friend Natalie Compagna were featured in The Progress as they prepared to rappel down a 20-storey downtown building for the organization’s Drop Zone event.
“It was awesome. Our team raised over two thousand dollars,” Daena said. “It’s for a good cause, we know where the money is going, and they’ve helped us.”
Since 2013, the Woman2Warrior race brings teams of women together to raise money to help send over 800 children and young adults with disabilities to Easter Seals’ three summer camp locations.
Rebecca’s campsite of choice is the one up in Squamish.
“It’s been amazing. I don’t have to worry about Rebecca,” Daena said, as the two sat side-by-side in their living room. “They have people on staff who are trained in case she has a seizure or needs her medication.”
With a team of counsellors and medical staff available at all times, the campers are encouraged to try new things and take risks, in a safe and supportive environment.
While playing, swimming, crafting, wall-climbing, dining and – one of Rebecca’s favourite activities – singing camp songs together, the focus is on abilities, not disabilities.
“As soon as she comes home she asks how much longer until she can go back to camp,” Daena revealed.
The average cost to send one child to Easter Seals camp is approximately $2,400, and more than 1000 warriors have raised over $500,000 since 2013 to lessen the financial burden for parents.
As soon as she heard about the 5 kilometre Woman2Warrior race, Daena was excited to sign-up, and Rebecca was keen to join as well.
“I always love having Rebecca involved in raising the funds, because she receives the services,” Daena said.
But this isn’t any ordinary 5K race. This challenging course includes a dozen secret obstacles to test strength, agility, balance and endurance, which won’t be revealed until race day.
Team “Rebalicious” is training hard by exercising together, and working toward achieving and exceeding their minimum fundraising goal of $600. Rebecca is collecting pledges at school, and they’re also selling Woman2Warrior raffle tickets.
Woman2Warrior, produced by The B.C. Lions Society for Children with Disabilities, takes place May 15 at Burnaby’s Central Park and Swangard Stadium from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Anyone who wishes to donate to Daena and Rebecca on team Rebalicious can do so directly online at woman2warrior.ca.