The Surrey Beavers rugby club raised more than $16,500 for cancer research Oct. 22 as part of their annual “Ruck for the Cure” fundraiser.
The ninth annual event was their first Ruck for the Cure in several years due to COVID 19.
This year’s event started on the pitch with three games before the real fundraising began back at the Beavers’ clubhouse, the Beaver Lodge.
“It was an unbelievable night,” said Walter van Halst, a club member. “The club raised the more money this year than it has in previous years.”
The days started with three matches at Sullivan Heights Park. The club’s women’s team drew Richmond 33-33, the men’s third division team lost to Abbotsford 39-5, and the men’s first division squad lost to Abbotsford 57-24.
“The losses were not the real story of the day,” noted van Halst. “Instead, the unity between rival clubs—at a level witnessed in no other sport—and the deep sense of supporting a higher purpose than just sport, was the real headline event.”
Van Halst said the teams took the pitch in pink rugby jerseys that were each sponsored by local businesses. After the games, and after a quick trip to the laundromat, each player’s brand new, game-worn jersey was then put up for auction at the Beaver Lodge in Cloverdale.
“Several jerseys resulted in such fierce bidding they garnered over $1,000 each,” added van Halst.
John Eadie, club president, also the auctioneer-in-chief Oct. 22, said Ruck for the Cure has really grown deep into the fabric of what it means to be a Surrey Beaver. He said new and old players alike really take on the fundraiser with deep commitment.
“I believe it demonstrates the desire to make a difference in the lives of those closest to them,” Eadie said. “Cancer is a heavy subject and it’s a testament to the temperament of our club mates that we can come together and make what could be a negative and serious affair into a night full of enthusiasm and positivity.”
Eadie opened the auction with a heartfelt tribute to a rugby friend and rival from an opposing club from his days in Winnipeg. That rival battled cancer bravely, but eventually passed away.
Eadie said many in the Beaver family should be proud of what they’ve accomplished over the years. Adding this year’s total to previous years, over the last decade the Beavers have raised more than $143,000 for cancer research.
“Fellow Beavers such as Paul Kelly, Nick Bruce, and many others who started this Beaver tradition of Ruck for the Cure before I even joined the club, need to be commended,” he said.
“Rugby’s underlying core values of respect, integrity, passion, discipline and solidarity are all strong and intact. You could say they have become ingrained in what our sport is.”