10 a.m., Apr. 26)
Bear Hug II event raises record amount of money
By Fred Sherwin
from St. Peter High School joined forces with more than 10,000
Catholic board students
from across the city this morning to form the world's largest
group hug around the Rideau Canal as part of the Bear Hug II
-The Force Is Back initiative. Fred Sherwin/Photo
an old saying that close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
Now you can add world record attempts to the list after more than
$326,000 was raised for cancer research during last months Bear
Hug II event which feel short in trying to set a new world record
for the largest ever group hug.
10,000 Ottawa-Carleton Catholic School Board students took part
in the record breaking attempt on April 25, including over 4,000 students
from the far east end. In order to qualify for the record the students
had to place their arms around each others shoulders and form
an unbroken ring around the northern end of the Rideau Canal for a
period of 20 seconds.
there were several large gaps in the chain which disqualified the
attempt, but that hardly mattered in light of the number of dollars
that were raised in the process.
to St. Matthew High School teacher and co-organizer Peter Lamothe,
the initial goal was to better the $103,000 which was raised during
the original Bear Hug event in 2002 when more than 5,100 east end
students formed a ring around St. Matts to set a new record.
breaking the record for the largest ever group hug the students also
set a record for the largest amount of money raised for cancer research
by a Canadian high school. Both records were eventually broken which
provided the motivation for last months record breaking attempt.
of school buses started pulling up to various points around the canal
at 10:30 a.m. from which a steady stream of students, most of whom
were clad in yellow Bear Hug II T-shirts, started pouring
dressed in red did their best to marshall the students into position
for the 11 a.m. start time. At 10:55 a.m. the students put their arms
around each other as a helicopter circled above to record the record-breaking
only afterwards, when organizers were reviewing the video shot from
the helicopter, that they noticed several large gaps in the chain
and decided not to send the tape to the Guinness Book of Records headquarters
over failing to set a new record was quickly tempered once they started
tallying up the donations. At last report the total stood at $326,000,
completely shattering the old record of $120,000. More than a third
of the total was raised by St. Matthew High School which bettered
the $108,000 they raised during the original Bear Hug event by $7,000.
from the Bear Hug II will be split between the CHEO Foundation, the
Ottawa Hospital Foundation and the Ottawa Senators Foundation.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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