the Hope Classic

Having a child with special needs, the Hagkull family has been on the receiving end of a lot of support over the years from the BC Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association ( About 8 years ago, Brad and Sheryl decided they wanted to give back by planning a local event that would raise awareness and funds for Spina Bifida. Did you know that Spina Bifida is the #1 disabling birth defect in Canada affecting 1 in 750 births?

They wanted to design an event that the kids themselves could participate in, and not just receive funds from. In asking a lot of “What if?” questions and consulting with other family members and community leaders, the idea for the First Annual Hope River Classic – a run /walk /wheel – was born and took place on August 19, 2006 in Chilliwack along a popular family running route.

The response was amazing! Almost 300 participants and 50 volunteers made the first ever event a tremendous success and close to $28,000 was raised for SBHABC’s equipment fund, used to offset expensive mobility aids for spina bifida families all over the province. More than that, the family-friendly event really encompassed the “finishing is winning” spirit the organizers set out to achieve. Paralympian Richard Peter and Chilliwack’s mayor opened the day with wellwishes, a BBQ followed and a live band provided the entertainment. The flat and rural, 5 & 8k picturesque routes bordered by raspberry and corn fields attracted many out-of-towners and generated numerous “we’ll definitely be back next year!” comments.

After the second year, the National Spina Bifida Association approached the organizers with a proposal to transfer the idea to other communities across Canada. In 2009, the word “River” was dropped from the name and nine Hope Classic events took place from Campbell River to Halifax! 2011 marked the 6th Annual Event in Chilliwack and over $154,000 total has been raised in BC alone. Truly phenomenal.  See the amazing kids, photos and stories on our website


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