The Surrey Beavers held their fourth annual Ruck for the Cure on Oct. 17. The event began with four, hard-fought games of rugby, followed by a live auction at their legendary clubhouse, the Beaverlodge, to support both the Cancer Society and a local survivor in financial need.
This year’s event was not only the largest ever, with over $20,000 raised, it was truly an emotional evening with players from the Beavers and their nearby rivals, the Langley Rugby Club, opening both their wallets and their hearts together.
Beavers President Rob Brown kicked off the event in the raucous clubhouse by hushing the crowd of pint-swilling ruggers to remind them all of what the night was all about.
On the field, two clubs had battled, he said, but off the field, they were now warriors in a common cause.
“We all know someone, every one of us, who has had to battle this disease, so tonight we must battle together,” he said.
The crowd erupted at his call-to-arms, and the auction began.
Beaver “hooker” (that’s a position, not a profession!) and former rodeo cowboy, Nick Bruce, climbed the auctioneer’s stool and the first of 23 special edition pink Ruck for the Cure jerseys was put up for bid.
Each jersey, numbered by playing position from prop to fullback with eight reserves, fetched hundreds of dollars as both current and alumni Beavers competed for shirts which matched where they lined up on the field.
Equally important, players and alumni from both clubs shared stories of fathers, teammates and past club members whom had passed from cancer but were definitely as alive in the Beaverlodge that evening as any of the current players.
Special edition New Zealand All Blacks and British RAF Spitfires jerseys were donated by a former Beavers player.
And then a young Langley player brought the house to tears when he climbed the stool to talk about his father and three other members of the Langley Rugby Club who were honoured with a special edition jersey his club purchased back – for over $2,000 – and will permanently display in their own clubhouse, the LRC, on Crush Crescent in Langley.
Beavers player and executive member Paul Kelly, who played a major role in organizing the event, said when added together, the Beavers annual Ruck for the Cure has raised over $50,000 for Cancer in only four years.
“This event would not be possible without the generous support of local businesses and individuals who sponsor our jerseys,” he added, “and we would like to thank the Langley Rugby Club for attending and really stepping up to support our event this year.”
Kelly closed by saying, “only in rugby would two clubs go at it this hard and then come together with so much respect to make a difference.”
– Contributed by Walter Van Halst