The response to an appeal for help to acquire equipment that would enable young Special Olympics athletes on the Semiahmoo Peninsula to try their hand at floor hockey could not have been much quicker.
Within 24 hours of being featured in Peace Arch News last month, the organizers’ phone was ringing with offers from people wanting to pitch in.
Last week, the athletes were donning helmets and testing out sticks.
“I’d love for people to know the generosity we’ve seen,” Susan Richards de Wit said..
De Wit, her husband Bob and their daughter Amadea have been running the Special Olympics Sport Start program in South Surrey since 2013. Alternating between basketball and soccer, it’s been a place for young athletes to experience entry-level sport in a fun, safe environment.
Last month, de Wit shared the challenge her family was having, of wanting to expand the program but not having the funds to purchase the necessary equipment. She was blown away by the community’s reaction to PAN’s March 17 article.
Southridge School was the first to respond.
“They asked us what we needed and they offered to get two large hockey foldable nets,” de Wit said. “They’re outfitting us with all the pucks, sticks and nets.
“It was very, very generous.”
Next came helmets and shin pads, donated by Rob Sinclair of Marathon Surfaces. Canadian Tire added five helmets to the tally.
Then, the family of Sport Start athlete Jacob Brackmann – featured in PAN‘s story – completed the package with a donation of more than a dozen pairs of hockey gloves.
“We’re completely outfitted,” de Wit said.
De Wit noted all of the donated equipment will stay with the Special Olympics program.
Last week’s floor hockey introduction went off without a hitch, she said.
“It was a perfect add. The athletes all took to it with great ease and vigor.”