By Walter van Halst
On Saturday, Oct. 22, the Surrey Beavers rugby club held their fifth annual “Ruck for the Cure” as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The event was deeply moving and a tremendous success, as players both past and present shared their stories and determination to make a difference over flowing pints in their raucous but heart-warming “Beaverlodge” clubhouse.
The event was the brainchild of Surrey 1st Division hooker Nick Bruce, who auctioned off 22 special-edition pink rugby jerseys like a proud stockyard hand.
In fact, Bruce, who used to ride in the Cloverdale Rodeo, was in such fine form that by the end of the night, more than $17,000 was raised to fight cancer, with two-thirds going to the Canadian Cancer Society and one-third to a local family who are battling the disease.
These special-edition pink rugby jerseys are highly coveted, and are only worn once per year.
First division flanker Paul Kelly, another driving force for the Beavers both on and off the pitch, spoke for the lads when he addressed the proud Beaver Nation saying: “We are one club, one family and we have all been touched so we must all fight this terrible disease.”
Kelly also thanked the players, alumni and local businesses who have sponsored these jerseys to make this event such a success once again.
Melanie Penn, a local volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society, said she was deeply touched by the kindness and generosity of the Beavers rugby club, saying, “This is so admirable, because no other community organization I have ever seen has done so much for us in one night and these guys are mostly young studs with bigger hearts than wallets.”
Club President Robbie Brown added, “I have been part of this rugby club for over 20 years now, and I have never been so proud to be a Surrey Beaver.”
The club is reaping the benefits of a strong youth movement, featuring many grads from Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary and other local schools.
The pink-clad Beavers enjoyed a “Ruck for the Cure” inspired rout over the visiting Kelowna Crows of 69-12 in Okanagan Springs 1st Division action, a 36 to 14 win against the 2nd Div. Crows and a 15 – 0 win over Kelowna for the Surrey Women’s team. The Surrey 3rd Div. men’s team completed the sweep with a 10 – 5 win over Chilliwack on a day which was truly a win for everyone.
Contributor Walter van Halst is a Lord Tweesmuir teacher and commissioner of the BC Secondary Schools Rugby Union.