The costume parade is a big part of Sidney’s bed race event. (photo contributed)

Bed racers set to run down Beacon Ave.

Charity event will raise funds for Youth Clinic

The bed races are coming back to Beacon Ave. in Sidney.

After a one-year hiatus form the town’s sporting scene, the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation (SPHF) has been hard at work to revive the annual event that in previous years, has seen costumed competitors join into teams of five to push a full-sized, functional hospital bed down Sidney’s Beacon Avenue in an effort to raise funds and awareness for worthwhile community causes. The race will run on Aug. 26 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and will feature 12 inspired teams in good natured, vigorous competition. The teams will muscle the beds over a course stretching from Third Street to Fifth Street along Beacon Avenue.

The five-person teams must have one member acting as the pilot of the bed, while the remaining four costumed team members push the heavy appliance while avoiding bumps, manhole covers and pot holes.

“The whole race is designed to be fun and there’s a lot of teasing between the teams,” said Corey Makar, whose Sidney Fire Department team won the last bed race event in 2016.

“I wasn’t a part of that team, but I’ll be out there this year. We’ve already met a few times to talk about strategy. Fun is fun, but it’s always fun to win.”

This year, funds raised by the event will go to help the Saanich Peninsula Youth Health Clinic.

That clinic was first opened in June of last year as a two-month pilot project. It was designed to serve patients, aged 12 to 24, and provide much needed care for the Peninsula’s youth. The clinic stayed open until December of last year when it was forced to close, but reopened in March of 2018.

“Our youth advisers said, ‘you can’t close. This is a valuable service,’” said Dr. Lori Vogt, a psychiatrist who has been with the project since the start.

The Youth Clinic now operates at Sidney’s Peninsula Medical on Thursday nights from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., providing a Walk-In Health Clinic for youth aged 12 – 24 years old.

The model, which involves family physicians, mental health counsellors, and a child psychiatrist, is a collaboration between many partners, including the Ministry of Child & Family Development, the Foundry Victoria, School District 63, Sidney by the Sea Rotary, Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation, and several community members. A team of physicians offer their services after their own clinic hours, and a dedicated team of local youth volunteers have been helping to build and maintain a ‘youth-friendly environment’ since the clinic was started.

Shari Mason, Manager, Major Gifts and Grant Writing for the SPHF, said that the Youth Clinic is in keeping with the mission of her organization and that they felt it was important that it stay open.

“We know that they are facing some challenges in maintaining their operations and we wanted to help.”

She added that the SPHF is committed to local services and causes and works year round to run events like the bed race to support local causes.

Mason is encouraging everyone to come out and cheer on the racers and to add their financial support by sponsoring one of the teams.

Race day will also feature some entertainment, a Family Fun Zone, and food available for purchase on site.

“This is a great family event for a great cause and I hope that Sidney comes out in full force to show their support,” said Mason.

Information on how to sponsor the racers and support the Youth Clinic can be found at sphf.ca/bed-races-beacon.

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