Sports

Dunfee steps up for the kids

By Don Fennell

Published 12:48 PDT, Mon September 20, 2021

Last Updated: 4:42 PDT, Mon October 25, 2021

Evan Dunfee never tires of giving back—especially when it’s to assist future generations.

An inspiring figure, he continues to gain fans and supporters because of his sincerity as much as for his athletic pursuits.

And now, the Richmond Olympian is using his success as a bronze medal race walker to raise awareness of KidSport BC so every child can enjoy and reap the benefits of sport.

"I am uniquely situated to speak about the power of sport as someone who has reached the highest level sport offers, the Olympic podium," Dunfee said in a B.C. government release last week. "As a child, I was lucky to have the opportunity to play sports because my parents had the financial means. It is important to understand that many kids don't have that same luck, but that shouldn't stop them. KidSport BC helps break down the financial barrier to sport."

Last week, Dunfee also tweeted about how grateful he is for the support he’s received since winning the bronze medal at the Tokyo Games in the men’s race walk—and how many have donated to KidSport BC in exchange for a special edition box of Kraft Dinner featuring himself.

“I refuse to get over how insanely funny and awesome this is simultaneously,” he tweeted. “Life is incredibly weird… Anyway, you awesome people raised $7,000 for @kidsportbc buying up 150 of these ridiculously nice mementos which is being matched by @kraftdinnerca.”

As a KidSport BC Ambassador, Dunfee participates at KidSport BC events to promote the value of sport and help raise funds for the non-profit. Since 2016, he has spoken with many people, including more than 10,000 school kids, about his sport journey, the importance of kids' participation in sport and how it has shaped his life.

"What is awesome about the ambassador program is it isn't limited to elite athletes. It is a collection of people who are all passionate about the role sport has played in their lives," Dunfee said. "There are so many skills and lessons I've learned and developed through sport. All kids should have this opportunity to gain these skills and learn these lessons."

In 2018, Dunfee upped his fundraising game in celebration of KidSport BC's 25th anniversary. He took on the challenge to walk 25 kilometres a day for 25 days. Along the way, Dunfee spoke at more than 25 schools that helped raise more than $26,000. In 2020, despite the challenges of the pandemic, Dunfee raised $8,000.

"It is so important to me to use my voice to help KidSport BC as much as I can," Dunfee said. "For me, it brings the purpose of my training and competing to a whole new level. I'm motivated by reasons that go beyond myself. I'm driven by the example I can be for others. This makes the successes so much more meaningful and the hard times that much easier to weather."

Held recently, KidSport BC Week was established in 1993 by Sport BC, a not-for-profit organization that provides financial assistance for registration fees to kids 18 and younger whose families cannot afford the cost.

"The biggest takeaway from being involved in KidSport BC is hearing from kids about what they love about sport," Dunfee said. "Apart from the crucially important funds we help raise for KidSport BC, I've heard from thousands of kids about their experiences, and from parents, teachers and coaches who have told me what KidSport BC has meant to the children in their lives."

The work of KidSport BC is focused on increasing participation by children who are often under-represented in sport, including children from lower-income families, Indigenous children, children and youth with disabilities, girls and newcomers to Canada.

As an Olympic and World medallist, who set the Canadian record in the 50-kilometre race walk at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games and who won the bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games, Dunfee recognizes he is a role model to many kids and adults. Through his volunteer work for KidSport BC, Dunfee is using his influence and the skills he acquired through sport to give back to his community.

• In spring 2019, government invested $2.5 million in Sport BC to expand access to amateur and recreational sport programs for children through its member organizations and KidSport program.

• In 2019-20, KidSport chapters distributed more than $3.25 million to help 10,755 kids in 150 communities throughout B.C.

Learn more at https://kidsportcanada.ca/british-columbia/

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