Ramona's Reach hockey tourney set for this weekend. (Handout)
It's keeping Ramona Reimer's dream alive.
“Her goal in life was Africa, orphans and missionary work,” said her brother, Kevin Petkau. “I think she felt that's what she was meant to do.”
Even terminal, Ramona was determined to make a difference overseas. “ … she had a self-less heart.”
In 2009, Ramona died at the age of 26 from a rare form of cancer which started in her hip. But the dream didn't end with Ramona's death.
At the Arborg arena on February 4 and 5, the seventh annual Ramona's Reach Hockey Tournament will raise money and awareness for the less fortunate in Africa.
Technically, this is the eighth tournament. The first was held in 2009.
“The very first tournament was to raise money for her,” said Petkau, “because she was in the hospital so much.”
The families of Reimer wanted to honour Ramona, and they continued with a hockey tournament, raising funds for Africa. Namely – a five acre piece of land in Pamora, Ugauda. A three-phase project plan was created, and a children's home was completed at the end of phase two.
“We have our childrens' home … with ten orphans there,” said Petkau. “Thirteen more are coming in this week. So many people need a place to live and a place to care for them.”
Thanks to the community efforts of Ramona's Reach, they've entered phase three with plans for a medical centre, church and they're “in the process of finishing a school,” with seven teachers and a porridge program. “If you're hungry at school,” said Petkau, “you're not going to learn well.”
Petkau said at the Ramona's Reach School, “We want to break the cycle of poverty. Just to help them become educated. We're trying to change it from within.”
Support for the Ramona's Reach Hockey Tournament is “fantastic. The community really gets behind this. It's pretty impressive.”
Each year, the goal is eight teams – which they've met. They also do specialty games, such a father-daughter, or girls only events. This year, watch for the skills competition.
“Accuracy, hardest shot.”
As for a fundraising goal, there isn't a hard and fast number. You can't place a number on a person, place or a dream.
“Whatever comes in is awesome.”