‘Soames 2 Everest Challenge’ raises $13,000

Participants who turned Soames Hill into a mountain have raised a mountain of cash for a new School District No. 46 (SD46) scholarship.

As of July 25, the “Soames 2 Everest Challenge” had brought in $13,000 in donations, far surpassing the initial goal of $4,000.

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In June, about 20 participants, including teachers, SD46 administrative staff and others committed to summitting Soames Hill 72 times to reach the equivalent height of Mount Everest – 8,840 metres above sea level – within the month.

So far, 13 people have completed the challenge.

The first to reach the milestone was Hopkins Landing resident Kara McDonnell, on June 18. She did it by hiking the hill up to a dozen times a day. With nearly two weeks left in June, she kept going and hit 100 summits by the month’s end.

Participant Dana Sauer, who has been tracking donations – and who completed the challenge a day after McDonnell – said “generous donations” came from “members of our community near and far,” and that it was “motivating to have support on the trails from folks who read about the challenge.”

The group “will definitely be climbing again next June,” with hopes of creating “scholarship opportunities for many years to come – for students who have faced their own Everest.”

The funds will be given to graduating SD46 students who have overcome adversity. Founders of the challenge said longtime rugby and soccer coach Dave Nanson, who suffered from a serious head injury, inspired them.

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