Annual Fire Truck Pull hauls in $16k for Epilepsy South Eastern Ontario

Chelsea’s Champions, last year’s winners, came back to take the fastest time, most funds raised, and overall winner titles at this year’s Fire Truck Pull. Photo via Canada Helps website.

This weekend, Epilepsy South Eastern Ontario held its 10th annual Pull Together for Epilepsy Fire Truck Pull. On Sunday, Jul. 23, 2023, teams gathered in front of Kingston City Hall to take on the challenge of pulling a 37,000 lb fire truck 100 feet.

This annual event raises funds to provide programs and services to those with epilepsy and their caregivers. According to Epilepsy South Eastern Ontario, approximately 1-in-100 people suffer from epilepsy, amounting to more than 4,000 people in southeastern Ontario alone. Though there is no cure for epilepsy, there are treatments. Those who live with uncontrolled seizures, however, commonly have difficulty maintaining their quality of life and wellness.

“We were utterly overwhelmed by the amount of support we received this weekend at the Tenth Annual Pull Together for Epilepsy Fire Truck Pull,” said Eric Holland, Special Events and Volunteer Coordinator for Epilepsy South Eastern Ontario.

“It was an amazing success in raising $16,000 to help fund programs and services that help those suffering from epilepsy and their caregivers.”

According to the organization, many sponsors made this event possible. “We would like to express our gratitude to Kingston Fire & Rescue, especially Les Feeny and Matt Roosenmaallen, without whom this event would not have been possible,” Epilepsy South Eastern Ontario said.

Thanks were also given to the Kingston Frontenacs and the Kingston School of Art for providing fun and entertainment to the crowd, as well as media sponsors.

Bill Welychka of Global News and City Councillor Jeff McLaren were celebrity judges for the day.

“Finally, thank you to all our amazing teams for raising money, participating in the pull, and showing tons of team spirit,” Holland expressed. “Chelsea’s Champions, last year’s winners, came back to take the fastest time, most funds raised, and overall winner titles! Good Lordy Jordy showed an immense amount of heart and creativity and deservedly took home the team spirit title!”

Chelsea’s Champions pose with local radio personalities Monica and Jesse after their win on Sunday, Jul. 23, 2023. Photo by Terry Douglas.

According to the Canada Helps website, Chelsea’s Champions is a team created by Courtney Tobin, a Kingstonian who “lives with the effects of epilepsy every day and is committed to raising awareness of the impact on the lives of the other 300,000 Canadians living with epilepsy.”

“Courtney’s motivation is in memory of her sister, Chelsea. Chelsea also lived with epilepsy and tragically died of Sudden Unexpected Death with Epilepsy (SUDEP) at age 23, on the day she was to receive her Masters Degree,” the website states.

Courtney has gathered a group of hers and Chelsea’s friends to participate in the fire truck pull as a fun way to raise funds and awareness for epilepsy. Sadly, the epilepsy support organization receives no government funding so every dollar allows them to provide assistance to those living with epilepsy.

Learn more about Epilepsy South Eastern Ontario on their website.

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