Handyman hopeful holds fundraiser

Mark Falvai has made it to the next round of Canada's Handyman Challenge

Qualicum Beach resident Mark Falvai a finalist in the TV reality series on Canada's Handyman Challenge is riding in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer in June. His friend Errington resident Leon Little died of brain cancer last year.

Qualicum Beach resident Mark Falvai has made it to the next round in Canada’s Handyman Challenge and that means the finalist on the national TV reality show can have at least one more fundraising party at home for Team iConquer which is looking to raise $139,800 for the BC Cancer foundation.

Falvai and his partner Joanne Simister are riders in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer.  On November 25, 2011 they lost one of their closest friends, Leon Little to brain cancer.  Following his diagnosis in 2008, Little participated in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer two years in a row; his last ride was in 2011.  Born and raised in Errington, Little was 38 years old when he died.  There are 43 people on the team including Little’s twin brother Craig.   Simister said although the two day cycling journey from Vancouver to Seattle which takes place on June 16 and 17 is a huge commitment for their family, they want to honor their friend and take part in the ride.

“It will be really healing for us…for all of us who loved Leon to be together for the weekend.”

Falvai and Simister have been hosting parties at their home to watch each episode of the HGTV show and their guests have been generously donated to Team iConquer.

Simister said they have raised over $1000 so far by holding the house parties where people put money into the official tool belt that Falvai wore on the show.

Simister said in this week’s episode, Falvai made it to the final four so they get to have another house party next week for the finale on Feb. 21.

In the meantime Falvai, Simister and one of their team mates Carla Snyder have organized a fundraiser that will happen this weekend at Eaglecrest Golf Club.

The iConquer Comedy Night and Fundraiser will feature comedian Damonde Tschritter.   The local jokester who grew up in Oceanside has been on Comedy Central, Just for Laughs and more and has generously donated his time and will do two stand-up shows this weekend with all ticket sales going directly to the BC Cancer Foundation.

The Saturday night show is sold out but Simister said there are still tickets for the Sunday event which goes from 7 to 9 p.m.  Not only will there be plenty of laughs, there will also be a silent auction, 50/50 draw and door prizes.  Simister said advance ticks are $15 and are available at Island Cycle in Parksville and The Outsider in Qualicum Beach.  She said people can also buy tickets at the door for the Feb. 19 show.

Simister admitted that with four kids at home, two of them twins under a year old it has been a challenge to train for the ride but she said her friends, family and the community have rallied behind them and they are getting a lot of support.

She said her sister is sending over her indoor training machine from Penticton and that will allow her to pedal at home.  Being the handyman that Falvai is, he constructed a giant box for the twins to keep them corralled.

“Mark built a box for the babies.  We have this enormous playpen in the house,” said Simister.

She said Island Cycle in Parksville has also been very generous.

“We are not road bikers and we had to buy road bikes.  Bruce at Island Cycle has given us a fantastic deal.”

She said although she and her husband are fairly active people, they know they have a big challenge ahead because they will be cycling for eight to nine hours a day during the event.

“I will have a sore butt but it is worth it.  I just got a call from a good friend, a young mom who was just diagnosed with breast cancer so there is no shortage of inspiration,” she admitted.

Simister said for those who would like to donate to their team, they can make a pledge on Falvai’s personal pledge page on the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer website at:  http://www.conquercancer.ca. and follow the links to the BC teams and look up Team Little-Kosick.


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