The Second Annual RIDE FOR WILL (June 15, 2013)

Over two years have passed since our community celebrated the amazing, but shortened life of 12 year old Will Bouchard of Redwood Meadows in May 2011. Will was one of those loveable children who had the unique ability to put a smile on people’s faces, and make the world a better place.

On June 15th, our community, along with a network of friends and family from Will’s life, gathered for the 2nd Annual “Ride for Will”. A total of 325 riders of all ages participated in the ride, while 477 attended the evening event at Redwood Meadows Community Centre that included a BBQ, Silent Auction, and Raffle. The general objective of the day was to raise money for the Will Bouchard Memorial Foundation. The generosity of everyone resulted in a contribution to the fund of approximately $40,000, far exceeding anyone’s expectation. More importantly, families and friends were given the opportunity to connect with their kids, and witness firsthand the power of giving.

We all feel fortunate to have had the weather on our side (for the most part). Only 5 days later, things looked very different in Redwood Meadows.

The Will Bouchard Memorial Foundation was initiated at the time of Will’s passing, and has been dedicated to support charities that direct their monies to children 11 to 15 years old, grief support programs offering support to parents and siblings, as well as local community charitable needs. This year, most of the funds raised will be directed towards STARS, Banded Peak School, The Alberta Children’s Hospital, AHS Grief Support Programs, Easter Seals Camp Horizon, and Kamp Kiwanis Calgary (Bragg Creek). You can find out more by clicking on the Will’s Foundation tab above.

The bike ride commenced at 3:00 PM from the Redwood Sports Field, where 325 riders were given a “Ride for Will” bike license plate, and a chance to win prizes for the top pledge earners. Riders had a choice of either a 10km ride (to Bragg Creek) or the full 20km ride, which included Banded Peak School as the turnaround point. Over $10,000 in pledges were raised during the bike ride alone. The support provided by a network of safety personnel and race organizers was overwhelming. Local mountain bike gurus “The Potlickers” acted as ride ambassadors, and did a superb job looking after maintenance and leadership.

The day could not have happened without the generous support of many corporate sponsors. In particular, thanks goes out to our Gold Sponsors…. Nalco Champion Technologies, Chris Baillie (Ribbon Creek Resources), and Kel Johnston (Wylander Crude Corp.). Major corporate support was also provided by Dave Desormeaux (Sysco Canada), Craig & Brenda Hruska, and Marty Gunson (Granville Island Breweries). In addition, thanks goes out to Gord Tate (Syncon Management), Jeff Schneider (Cornerstone Agencies), Steve Stretch family, Ted Hart (Envirosoft Corporation), Jason Baba (RBC Dominion Securities), Dennis Clease (Jack Carter Leasing), Stephen and Claire Willis, and Doug and Debbie Barry. Much thanks goes out to Mark & Tanya Kamachi and the entire Admaki / Run Digital teams for their inspiration marketing ideas, and promotional material.

The evening included 50 Silent Auction items along with an eclectic array of raffle items, and thanks goes out to all who generously contributed. Local Bragg Creek businesses stepped up to support the event, including Loko’s Lounge/Joey’s Only Restaurant, The Powderhorn Saloon, Scoops and Snacks, Bragg Creek Food Town, The Bavarian Inn, The Italian Farmhouse, and Bragg Creek Physio.

Many less fortunate will benefit from the “Willpower” that was abundantly evident that day. It was yet another example of why we all feel so fortunate to be part of a community that rallies together to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

Enjoy the photos from that fun and successful day for Will’s Foundation!

 

First Annual RIDE FOR WILL Bike Ride and Silent Auction

On Saturday, June 2, 2011, our friends and our community gathered for the first annual Ride For Will.  It was a successful day on all fronts.  Almost $49,000 was raised for The Will Bouchard Memorial Foundation and most important was the support that all who participated gave and received.  We are grateful to all who put in countless hours organizing this event and to those who came out to support us and one another.  Enjoy the photos!

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Photos of Will

 

 

Will’s Star

The middle star on Orion’s belt in the Orion Constellation has been dedicated to Will by his kindergarten teacher who spoke at Will’s Celebration of Life.  The middle star signifies Will and the two others are his big brothers, the three precious stars and sons of Joni and Murray.  Will in the middle where he loved to be; in the middle of it all, and protected by his big brothers forever.

 

Will’s Run Dedication and Unveiling of his Memorial Rock

Will’s Run at Fernie Alpine Resort

On Saturday, December 10, 2011 Will’s Run dedication and the unveiling of his Memorial Rock took place at Fernie Alpine Resort in British Columbia.  Will’s Run is located to the left at the top of the Bear Chair and has all of the elements that Will loved so much; kickers and tight turns through the  trees!

His Memorial Rock is 4’7″ tall (Will’s height) and weighs close to one ton.  It is a basalt rock with blue/grey/brown/black coloring from Washington.  It has an engraved message on the front in blue lettering and has a more private message engraved on the back from his parents and his brothers.  It sits in an alcove of trees near the top of the Elk Chair with an incredible view of Polar Peak.  This location has significance to Will’s family for many reasons:   the view to Polar Peak, of course, the proximity to hike to it when the ski hill is not operational, you can hear the voices of children and their parents as they ski down the coveted run called Power Trip.  Being able to ski down Power Trip as a kid was true testament that you were now a skier.  And also because Will liked to be in the middle of it all and the top of the Elk Chair is just that.

Following the unveiling of his Memorial Rock, we hosted a Poutine Party in the Daylodge.  We had Fernie’s first ever “Self-Serve Poutine Bar” and had root beer available for all the kids (real beers were available for the adults!). Poutine was Will’s favourite ski “lunch” so it made sense that we made it part of this special day.

We are forever grateful to Fernie Alpine Resort for allowing us to memorialize Will in this way on the mountain he loved so much.  And we are grateful to those who made this possible.  Without their help this would not be.  Never in our dreams did we think or even imagine that we could do this for him.  Will is loving this for sure and it has become our “heaven on earth”.  Thank You!

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Will’s Rock in February!

 

 

 

In September 2012, we hiked up to Will’s Rock.  The resort had prepared the area around the rock for summer visits and it is beautiful.  They did a fantastic job and WE LOVE IT!  Snow in the summer?  You bet.  Take a look at the concrete skirting.  It just couldn’t be any more fitting.

Sonja, Sarah, Tess, and Elsy at Will’s Rock
Joni and Finn at Will’s Rock.

 

First Recipient of the Annual “I Ride For Will” Sponsorship

Andrea Byrne – 2011/12 season

Andrea at BC Winter Games 2012

Andrea writes, “I am 14 years old and most people don’t have a name to go with my face. I am usually referred to as the twins’ little sister. I do have 18 year brothers and, yes they are twins but they have also been my coaches. Twelve years ago was the first time I set foot on skis. My parents taught me how to ski and my brothers taught me how to shred. As a kid you don’t wonder what you will be like in twelve years and now here I am fourteen years old and still doing what I love – skiing!  Three years ago I participated in my first freestyle competition. I did quite well and since then I have wanted to compete more and more. Every competition you meet new people, and learn from those better or worse than you. This year I started off with a big fall at the Red Mountain Big Mountain Challenge. It was not a great start to the year, but it got better.  I was invited to the BC Winter Games this year and I came home with a few metals; two bronze in both the mogul events (dual and single), a gold in big air and a gold overall.  My family and friends were very proud and I am too.  After the Winter Games I competed in the Lake Louise Big Mountain Challenge and I came home with a bronze and just recently I won second in the Castle Mountain Junior Freeski Competition!

This year I am very grateful for the “I Ride For Will” Sponsorship from the Bouchard family.  The  sponsorship payed for all my freestyle coaching without which I’m not sure where I would be.  The coaches and people from Fernie Freestyle have helped me achieve so much and I hope they do for years to come.  I hope my future holds something influenced by skiing!”

For more information on how to apply for this annual sponsorship go to the Foundation page.

 

Winner of draw for a pair of WillPower Skis

Alex Urquhart

Alex helped “make” his skis.  And he got to write a personal message on the inside core of the ski.

 

Our WillBilly Tree and Garden of Painted Rocks

At Will’s Celebration of Life on May 28, 2011 the Kamachi family, friends and members of our community, presented us with a cherry tree in Will’s Memory.  We planted it in a garden on the south side of our home just outside a wall of windows that surrounds our kitchen/dining area.  We lovingly refer to this tree as our WillBilly Tree; it greets us each day as the sun rises and never goes unnoticed.  At the base of his tree are many, many painted rocks; rocks that we have painted and placed there but also rocks that others have painted and have placed there, some anonymously and unbeknownst to us.  Our garden and his tree have become a visiting place where we have not only found wishes painted on rocks, but ribbons and balloons and angels and messages tied to the beautiful branches and placed around its little trunk.  It is truly beautiful; what it is and what it has become.

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Cole Hruska and The Last Goodbye

Cole and Will met while playing hockey.  They quickly became great friends and enjoyed many happy times together.  Cole was on a Quebec school trip over the long weekend in May 2011 when Will’s life was taken from us.  While enroute back home he began to write a song for Will which he titled, One Last Goodbye.  It will be included in his first CD, which will be released in April 2012.  You can catch a glimpse of it here.

Cole writes:

“I was sitting in a fancy hotel lobby in Quebec, when I found out about Will’s tragic accident. I was with a few of my teammates from the season where we all played with Will. We all made our way to dinner with teary eyes and looked back on the happy memories we had with Will. We laughed remembering Will’s signature shoot out move “The Will-O-Rama”.  We all thought of what we would say to him, if we saw him one last time.  On the 4-hour plane ride from Ottawa to Calgary, I finished writing the song “One Last Goodbye”. I went straight home, with my iPod in my hand, picked up my guitar and sang this song for the very first time. The song means the world to me, and there is not a day that goes by where I don’t think of my little energetic, smiley teammate and friend Will Bouchard.”   – Cole Hruska

 

Other songs for Will written and performed by:

Carry On by Sarah Troy

Will’s Song by Scott Diehl