The Force Was With Them: Chewbocca Wins 2014 Benefits of Bocce
21 teams gathered under a cooling cover of cloud at the North Vancouver bocce pits on August 16 for a DSRF summer tradition: the 14th Annual Benefits of Bocce tournament.
It was a day of fun, food, friends and fundraising in support of the Down Syndrome Research Foundation. It didn't take long for newcomers to learn why others have described it as their favourite charitable event of the year, as good natured rivalries quickly sprung up amongst the 84 players vying for the championship trophy.
Manulife Financial was the presenting sponsor of the event, and the defending champions to boot. Unfortunately, their two teams were not able to replicate their success of a year ago. Instead, it was the Gawenda family's Team Chewbocca outdueling Deboccery (Aon Hewitt) for the title, and the gold medals that came with it. For DeBoccery, it was an improvement on last year's bronze medal finish, proving that they are a team to watch. DSRF's own Sarah Parker and family took home the bronze this year under the name of Veni Vidi Bocce.
As for the champs, Team Chewbocca was led by DSRF student Daniel Gawenda, who proved that his years of competing in the Special Olympics bocce program has not been in vain. After proudly accepting the championship trophy along with his mother and grandparents, Daniel promptly planted a kiss on the mug.
The event raised almost $12,000, which will help empower individuals with Down syndrome through DSRF's research and educational programming.
Benefits of Bocce was sponsored by Manulife Financial, Neil Squire Society, Pacific Blue Cross, Vancity, Tim Hortons, Presto Catering, Palm Bay and Parallel 49, as well as over 20 generous individuals and companies who donated prizes for the silent auction and raffle (see below for a complete listing).
On behalf of DSRF's students, families, board and staff, thank you to all players, donors, sponsors and volunteers for standing "Together. Hand in Hand." with all who are walking the journey of Down syndrome. A special thank you to Alan Black, Leah Wosk, Heather Gawenda and Susan Juilfs for their support.
Prize Sponsors: Authentic Wine, BC Lions, Birkenhead Lake Properties, Boston Pizza, The Buffet - Villa Casino, Burrows Luongo, City of Burnaby, David's Tea, Delta Villa, EA SPORTS, Ebo Restaurant at Villa, Eric Beddis, Ethical Bean, Famoso Pizza, Five Guys Burgers & Fries, Home Depot, Inn at the Quay, Lago Apparel, Liberty Wine, Mills Basics, Neptune Terminals, Pacific Blue Cross, Safeway, Salon M2, Sewell's Marina, Seymour Golf, Take 5, Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver Giants, Vancouver Trolley Company, Westcoast Sightseeing
Thank you for your support; we'll see you again next year!
Birkenhead Lake Properties
The Buffet - Villa Casino
City of Burnaby
Ebo Restaurant at Villa
Five Guys Burgers & Fries
Inn at the Quay
Pacific Blue Cross
Vancouver Trolley Company