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Bob and Steven Dengler prepare for their historic flight starting Canada Day.
Photo by Peter Bregg
By Mark Pavilons
The historic C150 Global Odyssey is not only about breaking records. It's about supporting some very worthwhile causes.
When Kingscross resident Steven Dengler and his father Bob lift off early Canada Day morning, they will make history with the C150 Global Odyssey (C150GO). It will be the world's first Canadian around-the-world helicopter flight, and the first-ever father-son global circumnavigation by any light aircraft.
In celebration of Canada's 150th anniversary, the Canadian crew – comprised of Bob, Steven, and helicopter ace Rob “Dugal” MacDuff – will fly a Canadian-made Bell 429 helicopter over 38,000 kilometres in just over one month. Starting in Ottawa on July 1 and zigzagging the globe, the crew will visit more than 100 airports in 14 countries. Along the way, they will be joined by notable Canadians such as astronaut Dave Williams and hockey legend Guy Lafleur.
150GO is a registered Canadian not-for-profit organization, supporting both the Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation and True Patriot Love Foundation.
“Community support is vital to the work done every day at Southlake Regional Health Centre. It's what makes it possible for us to fund the tools, equipment and technology across the hospital that our clinical staff rely on to transform lives and, ultimately, perform miracles. We are so fortunate to be part of such a generous community, full of people like Bob and Steve Dengler, who are committed to Southlake's vision of delivering world-class health care, close to home. We certainly look forward to keeping a close watch of their progress during this record-breaking flight, and wish them all the best on their travels,” said Katherine Alyea, vice-president of philanthropy and engagement at Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation.
“It's incredibly inspiring to see people like Bob and Steve Dengler rally together with their families, friends, co-workers and neighbours to fundraise. We have approximately 150 third-party events hosted by the general public in support of our hospital every year, although this one is certainly unique! Last year these initiatives raised more than $1 million. People don't always realize it, but the impact they can make is truly incredible.
“Southlake serves a wide area with our regional programs, from York Region to as far north as Muskoka. A number of world-firsts in health care have been accomplished here, so it's exciting to participate as a partner and have our hospital recognized through this exciting initiative, which goes so far beyond our local community.”
The proceeds from the C150 Global Odyssey are not supporting a specific Southlake Foundation fundraising campaign, but will be designated to support the area of greatest need at Southlake, whether it be tools, equipment or technology that are urgently needed for patient care. This type of unrestricted support is so appreciated, as it makes it possible for the Foundation to best support Southlake's physicians and clinical staff in continuing to provide world-class care to patients in our community, when they need us most.
“I am extremely honoured and excited to be taking this flight with the Denglers. Their passion for flying and their support of Southlake inspires us all. The opportunity to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday on this journey parallels some of the most meaningful moments I have experienced in both healthcare and as a Canadian astronaut,” said Dr. Dave Williams, Southlake CEO and president.
True Patriot Love CEO Bronwen Evans said they were thrilled when Dengler approached them with the offer of support. She said it was nice that the Denglers found out about them and that word of the organization's efforts is getting out there.
Evans said she met Dengler a number of times and her group will definitely be following the Odyssey's progress on the various social media sites.
TPL is embarking on its own “odyssey” of sorts. Building on the success of previous expeditions to the Himalayas (2012), the North Pole (2014), and Antarctica (2016), TLP is leading teams of ill and injured soldiers, along with Canadian business leaders, on a series of incredible expeditions across the country. The first group embarked June 9. Together they will conquer some of the most remote and challenging locations in Canada including an intensive sea kayak adventure off the coast of Newfoundland (June 9-17); a thrilling recreation of the last leg of Sir Alexander Mackenzie's first crossing of North America (July 9-23), and a challenging white-water canoe expedition through the Northwest Territories (July 29 to August 12).
In addition to providing meaningful mentorship opportunities for soldier participants, previous expeditions have raised more than $5 million to support veterans, and their families, as they transition to civilian life. Funds raised have allowed for enhanced job training and recruitment, provided 144 veterans with rapid job placement, helped to fund more than 4,600 hours of peer-to-peer mental health counselling, and allowed for a $500,000 investment to create a virtual reality therapy program for veterans living with PTSD which is now being used across the country.
Evans said this year's treks have been in the planning stages for quite some time. They wanted to go above and beyond for Canada's 150th.
Both the expeditions and Odyssey will expose Canadians to our veterans on this special anniversary.
TPL, formed in 2009, is a national charity with the mission to inspire every Canadian to contribute to the resilience and well-being of military and veteran families. TPL has provided more than $18 million to support military families, including supporting more than 100 community-based programs across the country that address the unique challenges resulting from service including mental health, physical rehabilitation, transitioning to civilian life, and the special needs of children.
In addition, TPL contributes to advancements in research and technology through our $5 million commitment to the Canadian Institute for Military and Veterans Health Research (Queen's University). For more information, visit www.truepatriotlove.com
The Odyssey team lifts off from Bolton's National Helicopters on July 1, heading to Ottawa for Canada Day celebrations that day.
To learn more about the C150 Global Odyssey, to become a sponsor or to view the complete C150GO itinerary, please visit www.c150go.ca
Excerpt: The historic C150 Global Odyssey is not only about breaking records. It’s about supporting some very worthwhile causes. When Kingscross resident Steven Dengler and his father Bob lift off early Canada Day morning, they will make history with the C150 Global Odyssey (C150GO).
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