Charity begins at home for brothers

[attach]7443[/attach]At the heart of their efforts, six Leaside men feel giving back and helping others also celebrates their friendship.

With a lively dodgeball tournament in January at Timothy Eaton Church on St. Clair Avenue West that raised $3,500, brothers Michael, Chris and Steve Budd, along with friends Ian Gray, Steve Burtch and Chris LePan, have begun a journey to raise funds to contribute to the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer in June, an annual two-day cycling trek to Niagara Falls they’ll be part of as a team.

The yearly dodgeball event, which in other years raised funds for various charities, drew almost 100 participants this time, helping the team the guys have dubbed “We Ride at Daybreak…ish” get closer to their goal of $16,000.

A 24-hour treadmill bike ride to raise more funds is planned for the spring.

The dodgeball tournament was a competitive affair, with a fair share of dodging and sore arms.

Chris Budd’s team, Old Balls, took home the Budd Cup.

“I was expecting more people to be complaining about their arms, but people have been pretty silent about that,” Chris Budd chuckled afterward. “So if they’re suffering they’re suffering in silence.”

Philanthropy flows through the group of friends.

What started out eight years ago as a birthday party for the Budds, the dodgeball tournament has turned into an annual event in which they can raise money to donate to needs around them. Participating in the Ride to Conquer Canada as a team is their biggest endeavour yet.

“I think everyone should have something that they do to give back, whether that is putting on an event or coming to events and supporting people,” said Chris Budd, who operates a music publishing company at Yonge and Davisville.

“Hopefully, everyone has the urge to include it in their lives and, really, it’s a great feeling to know that you’re helping people.”

The effort to hit the road has been years in the making.

They had been talking about taking part all together for some time, but other commitments — including Chris’ wedding two years
ago — got in the way.

Steve Budd has been on the ride twice before. Last year he rode with Gray and LePan. Finally able to get the whole group on the journey is special, Steve says.

“It’s awesome being out on the road for that time,” he said. “You really get this pack mentality (when) you ride with your crew.

“You support each other and you get this huge sense of accomplishment, which is just so much more when you’re able to share it with someone.”

They will be on the two-day, 200-kilometre Classic Ride this year, starting at Ontario Place and meandering their way to Niagara
Falls. It will be a difficult, strenuous ride, but the guys say they are ready to hit the road today.