THE BLOG

Family Values: One Family's Challenge To Make Things Better For Disadvantaged Kids

06/11/2013 02:28 EDT | Updated 08/10/2013 05:12 EDT

During the past four years, as I've raised funds for the humanitarian organization Right To Play, I've talked to many people about giving back and helping others. I've presented to classes of school children, groups of runners and business people across the country. Many of them have made donations, volunteered their time and offered various means of support.

In early January of this year, I met Glenda Zamzow at a book signing in Calgary. A week later, after having read my book, MARATHON QUEST, she contacted me. Glenda told me that she had been inspired by my story, which led her to organize a family meeting with her husband Richard and sons 11 year old Derek and 14 year old Marcus.

As Glenda told me "I really felt we should do something - we've been given such great opportunities. You always hear people say 'Just pull yourself up by the bootstraps.' But disadvantaged kids, they don't have boot straps. If it were me, I'd want someone to advocate for me". She told me that they had come up with a plan to attempt a series of 12 challenges in order to raise $25,000 for Right To Play.

Since then, they have completed four challenges. The first was Hockey Quest 500. On January 19th, Glenda and Derek participated in an attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the most players ever in a hockey game. Next up, in early February, was the Canadian Birkiebeiner in Elk Island National Park. Marcus skied further than he had ever done before and completed the 55km Birkie Lite Ski Marathon.

The third event was in mid March at the Rocky Mountain Ski Challenge. On the morning of the race everything appeared to be on track until, 20 minutes before the start, Marcus slipped on a patch of ice and broke his arm in two places. So, instead of taking the "Family Challenge" they found themselves in the ER.

The fourth challenge was at the Canmore Ski Fest in late March, where Glenda skied for 12 hours. Her plan was to complete 90km but at the end of 12 hours she had covered 111kms.

On Saturday June 8th, the Zamzow's hosted a Charity Dinner. Around 120 family, friends and supporters turned up at the Bearspaw Lifesyle Centre in Calgary. Sponsors had provided the hall, food, music, décor and items for both the silent and live actions. The evening was a great success and it looks like over $13,000 was raised. What makes this really exciting is that for every $1 raised the Partners of Right To Play will add another $3.

I want to give the final word to the Glenda Zamzow: "Our family unity has come first in all of this. Richard and I want our kids to be healthy, compassionate, hardworking people. But we also want them to have a sense of community and volunteerism. We can all make a difference."

You can follow the Zamzow's at http://transrockies.com/zamzow-challenge/ .