Getting the dirt on Tough Mudder fundraising

Sean Peacocke doesn’t shy away from a challenge.

He might be the first donor to voluntarily undergo electric shock to raise money for Holland Bloorview.

Sean is Holland Bloorview’s Manager of Centres for Leadership. He helps teams launch clinical research and education projects that will impact children and families with disabilities.

Last month, he launched himself down a mountainside, taking part in his very first “Tough Mudder” race at the Mount St. Louis Moonstone ski resort, about 90 minutes north of Toronto.

It would be completely accurate to say he raised $1,500 for Holland Bloorview Foundation through blood, sweat and tears.

“I always wanted to do some sort of challenge like this, and this was a great opportunity to raise money…it feels good to contribute and give back,” he said.

One crazy course

The Tough Mudder is a 16-kilometre outdoor obstacle course that tests participants’ physical strength, stamina, and mental toughness.

There are no winners, no prizes and no clocks. The focus is on completing the course, with an emphasis on teamwork, camaraderie, and the satisfaction of accomplishing a goal.

You run, crawl, jump, and climb through muddy obstacles that would make any armed forces boot camp leader proud. Along the way, you get bumps, bruises, sore muscles and cuts. But when you finish, you feel amazing.

Going green for Holland Bloorview

Before Sean got covered in mud, he fundraised for Holland Bloorview through social media, using Facebook and Twitter to raise money and awareness with family, friends and colleagues.

He promised that if he hit his goal of $1,500 he would dye his hair green for the race and proudly don Holland Bloorview’s colours. Sean surpassed his goal and was the top individual fundraiser for Holland Bloorview!

“I got some good compliments on the green hair but I think it was gone by the third mud-pit,” he joked.

Though challenging, Sean loved tackling the course as he scaled walls, crawled underneath barbed wire, and manoeuvered through mud pits several feet deep, all while running up and down the steep slope of a ski hill.

He loved the teamwork needed to get past each obstacle. Often racers he had never met were extending their arms to help him get over a wall. He, in turn, did the same for others.

A shocking conclusion

When he got to the final obstacle, the dreaded and feared Electroshock Therapy, he froze.

He looked across a field of mud with wires pulsing with as many as 10,000 volts dangling down.

He first watched others run through with their elbows up, protecting their faces. Their bodies twitched when a wire touched their skin. Some yelled as they ran. Then it was his turn.

“I thought it would just be a little painful and I got about a third of the way through and I hadn’t hit a wire yet, but then I hit one and I dropped to my knees instantly.

“It really hurt and it took my breath away. I got back up got stung two more times and then I just wanted to get through it.”

From pain to pride

When the pain subsided at the finish line, Sean felt great – filled with the satisfaction that he completed the course and happy he had given back to Holland Bloorview Foundation.

He took a moment to reflect on the many Foundation-supported programs for kids with disabilities – The Family Support Fund, the Therapeutic Clown program, respite care, Music and Art Therapy, as well as his own Centres of Leadership programs.

“I know how much the Foundation does, so any dollar to support that giant portfolio is worth it in my eyes,” he said.

“The Foundation is doing a great job of reaching out to staff and looking for ways to connect and give back,” he added. “I decided I wanted to walk the walk and start doing some activities that drive fundraising.”

If you would like to learn more about how you can turn your hobby, interest, or event into a way to raise funds for Holland Bloorview, contact Paige Cunningham, Development Officer, Community Partnerships at pcunningham@hollandbloorview.ca or at 416-425-6220 ext 6037.