By: Caleb Magoon
Just a week or so ago, local veterinarian and businesswoman Paula Yankauskas successfully swam the English Channel at the age of 62. The Hyde Park resident swam the 21mile stretch in just over 16 hours becoming the oldest American to ever complete the feat. She also raised (and still is raising) money for Multiple Sclerosis research at the same time.
Why is it exactly that we (as a society) have tied athletic events and achievement to fundraising? I’m not sure, but those events seem to pop up more and more every year. Many people must be funding and participating in these events because they’re growing and not going away.
I’ll be honest when I say that at times I feel overwhelmed by the asks we all get for the many events we see in our region. Yet, how can I say no? Would I say no to the Lamoille Area Cancer Network who puts an amazing 100% of funds to use in our community? No. Could I say no to a local youngster raising money for their first race? Would I say no to being a small part of Paula’s amazing athletic achievement? How could I?
I’ve been on the other side of things, too. I remember my mom doing the March of Dimes when I was a kid, and we helped collect coins for her. A couple years ago my wife and I completed the Camel’s Hump Challenge, a 14-mile backcountry ski circumnavigating Camel’s Hump in the dead of winter to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. It was an incredible feat just to finish the trek but it was even better knowing we had done a little good while we were at it.
No matter how we started tying these events to raising funds for worthy causes, it’s no secret why they are so widely popular. Bettering our community and world while bettering our bodies feels great. It goes beyond simply training on your own in a vacuum. These events give us the opportunity to set athletic and fundraising goals, work to achieve them and share in an experience and eventual success of an event. We don’t just do it alone, we do it as part of a wider community and we all win.
No wonder these are so popular. So join in! Find a cause or event you like and join up. Train and raise money and celebrate your inevitable win. I won’t be swimming the English Channel anytime soon, but Paula has inspired me to jump back in the water. When someone comes around raising money for his or her event, give what you can. Do it for the individual and the community. As hard as it can be to open your wallet once again, do what you can. This happy and healthy union between athletics and fundraising means we all win.
Caleb Magoon is a Hyde Park native who grew up hiking, hunting, biking and exploring Vermont’s Green Mountains. His passions for sports and recreation have fueled his career as the owner of Power Play Sports and Waterbury Sports. Caleb encourages outdoor activity and believes it is an essential element to a healthy lifestyle and the Vermont way of life. Caleb serves the Lamoille Valley by volunteering on numerous community boards such as the Lamoille County Planning Commission, The Morrisville Alliance for Commerce and Culture, Mellow Velo, and the state chapter of The Main Street Alliance. He lives, plays and works in Hyde Park with his wife Kerrie.