Students at the Tigon Tae Kwon Do Black Belt Academy in Langford received a lesson in endurance and helping others this week.
The school hosted a kickathon to raise money for Ronald McDonald House, with students collecting pledges before completing 1,000 kicks at a special event Monday evening.
“We call this our kids helping kids program,” said head instructor Tim Dudley. Behind him students glistening with sweat smile as they wait their turn to complete their round of kicks.
The school tries to do a fundraiser every year for different organizations, Dudley said, and Ronald McDonald House seemed a logical fit based on his experiences there and the fact it helps the families of sick children. Dudley and his wife spent some time at the Vancouver-based facility after their daughter was born with a heart defect. At two weeks old, she was flown to B.C. Children’s Hospital, meaning that to be nearby, “the only other option was to stay in a hotel.” He added, “you can stay there as long as you need to.”
This is the first kickathon for many of the students and Dudley said a number of them were quite surprised with their fundraising results. Students were encouraged to go around their neighbourhoods and ask friends and family to pledge a penny per kick, which translates to $10.
Of those children that haven’t collected pledges before, he said many set a goal for themselves of $20 but actually raised closer to $200. One academy member even came in with a cheque from one sponsor for $100.
The students started to notice how all of those pennies add up and Dudley said some children have even asked if they could keep fundraising after the event.
“By the time they finish tonight they’ll feel like they’ll be able to do another 1,000,” he said. “They won’t want to go.”
The kickathon was the first time many of the students have ever attempted that many kicks in one session. Dudley said it will be a lesson in endurance and hard work.
“We just finished 250 and I think they’re starting to realize,” he said with a laugh. “They’ll all sleep well tonight.”
One young student and first-time participant who was about halfway through admitted he was feeling really tired, but was excited to continue. “I thought it was going to be really hard, but it turned out to be easier than I thought,” he said. “It’s a really good cause.”
The pledges totalled about $6,300 to be passed along to the charity.