Epic Pulls into London

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Smoulders' RV

After a coast-to-coast journey spanning 16,000 kilometres, the Epic Pull team finally made their triumphant return to London last Saturday for Shinerama Day.

Epic Pull evolved from the annual engineering bus pull, the brainchild of Epic Pull chief coordinator Bill Smoulders. The Shinerama pulls involved engineers physically pulling Smoulders’ RV to raise funds for cystic fibrosis research.

However, Epic Pull took the concept one step further. This past summer, Smoulders and his 35-person team toured Canada, stopping for 25 separate pulls.

It was difficult for the Epic Pull team to launch the daunting project and acquire funding. On the road, the team gathered support and began to realize the initiative’s potential.

“When you start a charity event, you have a certain sight of what you think you can do. ... Our goal changed and we made it $52,365 to represent 52 weeks [or] 365 days in a year ... adding another year on the life expectancy of someone with cystic fibrosis,” Smoulders said.

Now, the team is just shy of their goal, with about $51,000 raised to date.

Erika Streich, Epic Pull team member and former Shinerama Day coordinator, was motivated to participate in the Epic Pull by the spirit and energy surrounding the initiative. Streich noted the project’s success is about more than the financial goal.

“We met tons of kids who have CF [and] people who have lost family members to CF,” Streich said.

“It’s wonderful to see that something you do affects people you don’t even know.”

Though no member of the Epic Pull team is directly affected by cystic fibrosis, they all shared the contagious spirit of Shinerama.

“The reason Shinerama is so big around Western and the country is because it captures the spirit of students and interesting ideas like pulling a bus for charity,” Streich said.

Franco Berruti, dean of engineering, commended the Epic Pull team on their efforts.

“The events that took place this summer were very successful,” Berruti said.

Donations can still be made online at www.epicpull.ca.

" with files from Adam Feldman

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