Wheelchair athletes in Kelowna want to compete in a power soccer tournament in Arizona. But members of the Okanagan Thunderchairs each need more than $2,000 for travel expenses.
So the team is hosting a Burger Bash fundraiser at Rusty's Steakhouse in Kelowna on Nov. 25 and looking for donations of items or services for a silent auction. Those interested should contact Mel Wright at 250-470-3521 or
to arrange for pickup.
Almost all of the players are unable to travel to the PowerBlast Tournament in Phoenix in March by themselves and require an attendant. Some athletes will incur further expenses, such as renting patient lifts and hospital beds.
Monetary donations to the team to support travel expenses, or even sponsorship of the Okanagan Thunderchairs, would also be appreciated. Cheques for more than $20, made out to People in Motion, the non-profit society that supports the team, are eligible for tax receipts.
The Okanagan Thunderchairs has players aged 12 to 62 years with most in their teens. Half of the team is in power chairs because Duchenne muscular dystrophy has diminished their muscle strength. Other players are affected by a range of physical and cognitive disabilities, including spinal cord injury and severe juvenile arthritis.
The team practises 9-10:30 a.m. every Sunday at Parkinson Recreation Centre gym. Everyone is welcome to watch. New players are welcome and the team has spare power wheelchairs with footguards so anyone can try the game.
Power soccer (known outside North America as powerchair football) is a modified soccer game. Four players per side try to pass and score with an over-sized soccer ball. It is an international sport with a World Cup held every four years. One Okanagan player travelled to Paris with Team Canada for the 2011 World Cup.