Do It For Dad, for papa, daddy, pop, pa, the old man, for grandpa, opa, grandpère, but do it.
Sam Dewinetz, who turned four June 18, says, “I do it for my dada.” Sam will be at his third Do It For Dad walk/run at Coldstream Ranch on Father’s Day with his dada, Jason Dewinetz.
Community service is a family tradition starting when Sam’s great-great-great-grandfather, William MacKenzie, arrived in Vernon in 1907 to start MacKenzie’s Menswear. Everyone in the family has made many community contributions ever since.
This is the 15th year that Sam’s grandmother, Bobbe MacKenzie and great-aunt Marnie MacKenzie have taken part in the event, which has all the money raised staying locally to help men who can’t afford testing for prostate cancer.
“April Sanders is my friend and was my doctor at the time she started the walk, which is in its 16th year. When she told me about it, we had lost our father not long before, not to cancer, but our sister Linda did die of cancer, and we knew we wanted to take part,” said Bobbe MacKenzie.
She got her sister, Marnie Mackenzie, who is blind, involved right away.
“She came over to my apartment and said, ‘Here’s your T-shirt, here’s your pledge sheet. Go raise some money,’” said Marnie, who got on the phone and raised more than $1,500 the first year. She raised more than $25,000 in total over the following years.
“It’s a good walk. I go with my white cane. It’s a little rough underfoot in places but I think anybody who likes walking outdoors could do it and enjoy it. And anyone can contribute something. One year I had a senior give 74 cents because that was all she had, but the contributions of any amount add up quickly,” said Marnie.
Bobbe remembers that Sam did the walk in his stroller the first year.
“He comes to the Upper Room Mission with me to help and learn about thinking of others. He told me, ‘This is for daddies who need to go to the doctor.’ He said he is going to walk the whole thing this year. It is accessible and a very nice walk on the ranch with the cows. One year the cows all lined up and watched us like we were a parade. It all takes place early so families can do other things for Father’s Day too,” she said.
Jason Dewinetz likes joining his family for the walk/run.
“It’s obviously a good cause and it has quickly become a family tradition for us,” he said.
The money raised through Do It For Dad stays in the community to help provide testing for men who can’t afford the test for early detection.
“That’s unfair. Women get mammograms for free,” Bobbe noted. “We want to be sure that all men have the test and that benefits them, their families and the community.”
The event also features face painting, warm-up exercises, food and a friendly donkey.
Do It For Dad, presented by Interior Savings, a 7K run/3K walk, takes place Sunday at Coldstream Ranch with registration at 8:30 a.m. and the event starting at 9 a.m. For more information or to register, call 250-558-1362 or see www.vjhfoundation.org/events/do-it-for-dad.