Royal Roads University students John Fennell, Duncan Ferguson, Nicole Sandvoss and Jacine Jadresko are selling laces to raise funds for the You Can Play Project as part of a class project. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)

Royal Roads students Prideful initiative

Lace ‘em up with pride!

Rick Stiebel

News Staff

Four students at Royal Roads University are tying one on in support of young athletes in the LGBTQ community.

Inspired by former Olympic athlete John Fennell, Jacine Jadresko, Nicole Sandvoss and Duncan Ferguson are selling rainbow shoelaces to raise money for the You Can Play Project, a non-profit organization devoted to tackling homophobia in sports for athletes, fans and teams.

The four students chose that charity for a class project that focuses on creating an e-commerce business as part of the curriculum for RRU’s Bachelor of Commerce and Entrepreneurial Management program.

Fennell competed for Canada in the luge event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia.

“The environment in Russia was so distracting that it affected my performance,” he recalled in reference to the government’s open hostility toward members of the LGBTQ community. “I remember being at the top of the track thinking ‘how can I be brave enough to do this sport if I’m not brave enough to be who I am?’ I decided to find my voice to help others and make a change for the better in sports.”

READ ALSO: Police respond to anti-SOGI protest in Oak Bay

None of his Olympic teammates at that time knew he was gay, but once he was back home in Canada, Fennell came out and joined the You Can Play Project, where he currently serves as a board member. He was also an alternate member of Team Canada in the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Sandvoss said Fennell’s involvement with that organization made the decision to choose it as the team’s designated charity an easy one. “We see it as something that embraces individuals and organizations,” she added.

READ ALSO: Transgender cyclist wins world title, backlash ensues

The four have set a goal of raising $1,000, and are encouraging not just individuals, but businesses, sports teams and community organizations to get involved as well by purchasing the bright, rainbow-coloured laces for $3.50 a pair.

“The You Can Play project is a charity we all feel passionate about,” Jadresko explained. “It’s something we’re all very close to.”

One hundred per cent of the money raised goes to the charity.

Ferguson said although the deadline for fundraising for the project is May 31, the initiative is something the team is eager to keep going. “We hope to pass it along and keep it going as a fundraising source for the You Can Play Project,” he said.

All four were also keen to thank Kirby Sports for their tremendous support.

To order a pair of laces or enough for your team or organization, visit lacesforpride.com.

For more information on the charity, check out youcanplayproject.org.

Just Posted

Man faces 11 charges after accidentally discharges bear spray around Victoria cops

A Victoria man had a unlucky morning Wednesday after he accidentally discharged… Continue reading

Sooke council threatens to close long-time business

Driver’s Welding application for a temporary zoning variance denied

Police arrest two men on Gorge Road East

Traffic has resumed in the area

Bus crash survivor petitions Justin Trudeau to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

Suspected opioid overdose likely culprit behind serious crash in Fairfield

Victoria paramedics give unconscious driver Narcan

Sealand was much more than killer whales, says ex-employee

Former Sealasd trainer revisits Sealand of the Pacific in talk

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

NDP, Liberals promise more spending, while Tories promise spending cuts

Making life more affordable for Canadians a focus in the 2019 election

UPDATE: Police probe third threat against a Kamloops high school in eight days

Police have not released any further details into what the threat includes

Charges dropped against Mountie involved in shooting death of Surrey man

‘I feel like I’ve lost Hudson all over again,’ says mom

B.C. Interior caribou protection area big enough, minister says

Proposals sparked protest in Kootenays, Williams Lake region

Two B.C. women selected to compete on ABC’s The Bachelor

Mykenna Dorn and Alexis Thind will compete for bachelor Peter Weber’s heart

UPDATED: Hundreds gather to reflect and remember UVic students killed in bus crash

Campus community invited to reflect, support one another

Most Read