For the very first time the Variety Show of Hearts Telethon will put money into the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program (WASP).
With just over $4,400 approved recently to go towards purchasing a range of equipment for the local organization, this weekend will see the children’s charity host its annual telethon with funds from that event also hoped to benefit the Whistler program.
“This is the first grant Whistler Adaptive has received from Variety, so we are extremely excited to be part of the program,” said WASP’s executive director Chelsey Walker. “This will go a long way towards purchasing equipment … and we are looking forward to reapplying for future telethons.”
Whistler resident and Variety board member George Pitman was instrumental in getting the children’s charity to fund the local adaptive sports program.
Pitman said the local effort to see funds go to the sport program saw success last week after the proposal to see the $4,400 go to buy equipment was approved by the charity.
“This is the first time Variety has been able to support an adaptive skier program,” he said.
Variety communications coordinator Barb Coates said the recently approved grant begins a new relationship with the Whistler program that hopefully will see future funding approvals.
“This is fantastic,” Coates said.
In B.C., Variety has raised $170 million for children with special needs since it was established in 1965. Coates said the hope is that efforts to support adaptive sports in Whistler will also help families with disabled children, which may not be aware there are sports programs available to them, to take advantage of those programs.
“It has only been in the last few years that a number of mountains have started to include adaptive skiing as part of their programs (for school aged children),” Coates said.
Walker said the WASP not only provides for school groups visiting Whistler, so that all students can participate in outdoor sports, but also long term local residents who participate on a regular basis.
WASP’s programs go beyond the ski hill, with the group offering support, equipment and programming for “anything that can be adapted outdoors” said Walker. WASP runs 16 sports programs for people of all ages with disabilities.
The funding from Variety, she said, will go a long way to purchase equipment specifically for children’s programming on the ski hill including a child sit ski, Nordic style visors for children with autism and video equipment to analyze performance on the hill.
Whistler residents can support Variety’s fundraising efforts for children across the province on Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 16 and 17) during its 47th annual Variety Show of Hearts Telethon on Global BC.
For more information on the event go to www.variety.bc.ca.