Since its launch 14 years ago the Banded Peak Challenge is closing in on raising $600,000 for the Easter Seals Camp Horizon and organizers hope to surpass that threshold this year.
Funds raised have helped Alberta children with disabilities and special needs attend summer camp at Easter Seals Camp Horizon located 10 km southwest of Bragg Creek on Highway 66.
“These funds have helped to send over 900 kids with special needs, disabilities and serious illnesses to camp since 2001,” said Camp Horizon director of operations Anna Garcia. “Our programs are not eligible for government funding, so to keep camp affordable for our families, our fundraising needs are constant.”
The Banded Peak Challenge is the major fundraiser for Camp Horizon. As a result, it went ahead last year despite the flood, which ripped through the Bragg Creek area.
As a result of the flood, the route for the challenge had to be moved to Moose Mountain and the same track will be used again this year.
“We really had to scramble last year to find a new route, but we are happy to be back at the same spot,” said Garcia. “It is an easier route than the original so if there are people who have been sitting on the fence thinking it was too hard, do it now before we go back (to Banded Peak).”
This fundraising adventure, to be held again on July 12, combines a 13 km bike ride and then a 2.2 km hike to the top of Moose Mountain.
It can take between four and 10 hours to complete the round-trip.
“Those people who do it in four hours are superhuman,” said Garcia with a laugh. “We had one fellow ride his bike from Calgary do the race and then ride back to Calgary.”
Most importantly is the impact the event has on the Easter Seals camp and its campers.
Camper Elisa Neven-Pugh, along with a team of family and camp staff, participated in the event for two years said Garcia.
Neven-Pugh, who has cerebral palsy, is dependent on a wheel chair. During the challenge two years ago, she and her team traversed the 26 km distance to the mountain base camp.
“Elisa has seen back-country splendor that persons with a disability would otherwise be denied,” said Garcia. “Her mega-watt grin, the whole way up and down the mountain, inspired every participant she encountered along the way and ensured they witnessed the real reason for the event.”
Neven-Pugh’s time spent at summer camp allowed her to flourish and gain more self-confidence and independence according to Garcia.
“Camp is a place where she has developed true friendships through a sense of belonging that can only be achieved in the presence of others who are just like you.”
Bragg Creek area resident John Lajeunesse created the event and still supports it Garcia said.
Participants can win fantastic outpost prize draws as well. The challenge is limited to 200 participants every year and online registration is currently open at www.bandedpeakchallenge.com. You can also find the Banded Peak Challenge on Facebook and follow on twitter at @bandedpeak.