Each summer for the past four years, Will Rogers has gone the distance for a worthy cause.
The veteran Cloverdale paramedic has run, cycled and swam more than 960 kms in June and July as part of his Million Dollar Journey to end the exploitation of youth and women in our community.
But this is it, he promises. This is the last time.
On June 24, Rogers and his support crew of paramedics will set out on the first leg of his 2012 Million Dollar Journey for the Servants Anonymous Society of Surrey, or SAS.
He’s swimming to Sturdies Bay on Galiano Island from Tsawwassen – a distance of 22 km.
The second leg of his journey is a 440-km bike ride that will take him from Penticton to Victoria (June 30 to July 1).
He’ll run from Penticton to Victoria on the final leg, a 500-km run he plans to complete July 9 to 22.
If all that sounds ambitious, consider the fact that Rogers – a 53-year-old father of three – has competed in Ironman Canada more than 20 times.
After he hangs up his running shoes and puts away his bike, Rogers will focus on the fundraising and awareness side of his quest.
Servants Anonymous supports women and victimized youth who are looking for a way out of the sex trade industry. The society runs safe homes, provides schooling and life skills training, and helps sexually exploited teens rebuild their lives by boosting their self esteem and offering practical life and occupational skills training.
Government support accounts for just 14 per cent of the society’s funding. Much of the rest comes from private donors, sponsors and fundraisers like the Million Dollar Journey.
Rogers says SAS helps reduce or even eliminate the need for social services.
“One girl on the streets can cost the social system $40,000 to $50,000 a year,” he says, adding the money earned through prostitution feeds other criminal enterprises – brutal, opportunistic criminality that Rogers firmly believes should not be tolerated by a modern, compassionate society.
“SAS saves lives, families, and tax dollars,” he says.
Rogers, a man who’s demonstrated a considerable amount of individual will and determination in his physical goals, knows when it comes to fundraising, he can’t do it alone.
That’s why he’s reaching out to businesses and individuals, vowing to continue the fundraising and awareness side of things.
His ultimate dream is to sign up 10,000 people willing to commit $20 a month, for 24 months. That would bring in $5 million to provide the society with ongoing funding.
Never one to sit still for long, Rogers has a full calendar of other feats of endurance planned.
He’s participating in a swim relay from Sechelt to Nanaimo on Aug. 11. That event consists of six to eight teams with four swimmers each spending an hour in the water for a 17 mile journey.
On Aug. 26, he’s taking part in 2012 Ironman Canada, which is a 4-km swim, 180-km bike ride, and a 42-km run. The Grand Fondo Bike ride is a 142 km bike ride from Vancouver to Whistler.
Then it’s back to work for the fall, winter and early spring to rest up for the following year.
Rogers is available for power point presentations to any business who would like to find out more on how to help.
He can be contacted at email@example.com. Donations can be made at sasurrey.ca, at willrogers.ca, by calling 604-590-2304, by cheque to SAS at #201 7400 132 St. Surrey, B.C. V3W 4M7, or at any Bank of Montreal branch (account No. 706-8097584).