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Branson on board

Oceanside kite surfers raising money for B.C. Children’s Hospital get a boost from Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson

Kiting for Kids says it is making excellent progress towards its goal to raise $10,000 for B.C. Children's Hospital and the cause has become global.

Currently $5,575 has been raised by Parksville realtor Ken Droog and his team of Vancouver Island men attempting to kite board across the Georgia Straight.

As the date to make this immense return crossing nears, so does their deadline to make their equally immense fundraising goal for B.C. Children's Hospital.

"For our first year we are pleased with our progress and the excellent support shown by the Vancouver Island business community for this cause," Droog said. "Raymond James of Qualicum Beach stepped up on day one as the Platinum Sponsor and the support continues to come in."

He noted every bit helps. "Jim's Gym in Parksville and personal trainer Mike Bourcier conducted a Spin-a-thon on February 22 that raised $445 towards Kiting for Kids efforts."

And the cause has truly become global. "We extended the invitation to Sir Richard Branson to join us in our crossing, and to become an honorary member of Kiting for Kids, and are quite happy to report that although Sir Richard can not join us in the crossing, he has accepted his honorary membership with Kiting for Kids"  said Droog, who provided this statement from Branson, the founder of the Virgin company empire:

"I am delighted to become an honorary member of Kiting for Kids. As a keen kitesurfer, it is great to be part of an organisation that combines love for our sport with a desire to make a difference in the world. Good luck to all of the team in the upcoming challenge, let's hope for favourable winds and a successful adventure."

The roster of kite boarders attempting the Georgia Strait crossing from Nanaimo to Davis Bay and returning back to Parksville includes:  Allan Berry of West Coast Shutters, Blinds and Closets, Harold Grindl of Phat Plank Kiteboards in Errington, Dennis McDonald with Todsen Design & Construction of Qualicum Beach and Ken Droog of Remax First Realty.

The latest sponsor to jump on board in the Kiting for Kids cause is the Vancouver Island based business, Ocean Rodeo. The Victoria company manufactures kites, boards and accessories and will be sending a representative to join in the crossing in the first half of April, depending on the winds.

Donations can be made through the website with all donations going through the link to the B.C. Children's Super Hero page created for Kiting for Kids by B.C. Children's Hospital.

"B.C. Children's Hospital Foundation relies on initiatives like Kiting for Kids to raise critically needed funds. I wish to thank all of the kite boarders, sponsors and everyone else who is involved in Kiting for Kids for their commitment and generosity," said Veronika Pavlina, Philanthropy Officer at B.C. Children's Hospital Foundation.

— Kiting For Kids/NEWS Staff

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