Community

Float your boat for a cure

Friends and family was always very important for Andrew Vaydo (with hat), who passed away last July. Vaydo (below, with ball) was also an avid rugby player with the Langley Rugby Club. - Jennifer Kirk Photography
Friends and family was always very important for Andrew Vaydo (with hat), who passed away last July. Vaydo (below, with ball) was also an avid rugby player with the Langley Rugby Club.
— image credit: Jennifer Kirk Photography

Tradition was very important to Andrew Vaydo.

Every summer, with all their family and friends, the Vaydos would take a summertime trip to Harrison.

It was on one of those trips where Vaydo found a couple of plastic boats and quickly began polling everyone there to see which one they thought would float the furthest.

"He was very traditional," described his eldest sister, Leah Corvec.

"Every year, we would have to do the same things and he loved riding the boat and getting out on the water."

It is fitting then that this Sunday (April 15), his family and friends will host the first annual Float Your Boat For A Cure at Derby Reach Regional Park.

The event is a fundraiser in memory of Andrew, who passed away July 8, 2011 after a two-year battle with Lymphoma.

Team Andrew Forever, made up of family and friends, is looking to raise $30,000 in the fight against Lymphoma by raising funds and awareness for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada.

"Family and friends were important to him, he loved that sense of community," Corvec said. "He was a great guy and is missed; we are just trying to do our bit and raise some money."

Sunday's event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For a $5 donate, people receive an environmentally-friendly biodegradable paper boat on which they can write their message of hope or remembrance for a cancer patient. The boats will float down the Fraser River. There will also be hot dogs, treats, face painting, a marshmallow roast, bouncy castle, children's entertainment, music and more.

Also helping out at Sunday's event will be members of the Langley Rugby Club.

Rugby always played a central role not only in Andrew's life, but for his family as well.

Both Andrew and his younger brother, 24-year-old Patrick, played for the club after following their dad, Randy into the sport.

The whole family — the Vaydo boys and older sisters Leah Corvec, 33,  and Katy, 31, and mom Dori — would spend Saturdays at the LRC cheering the home side on.

Even when Andrew became sick, he continued to stand on the sidelines when he could.

When Andrew had to give up playing because of his illness, he was determined that if he could never play again, he would coach the sport.

Both older sisters described their brother glowingly.

"He was outgoing, and the life of the party," Leah said, adding that he was also very responsible, many times serving as the designated driver for his friends.

"And he was full of advice and very responsible."

That didn't mean he was all sugary-sweet either.

"Andrew was opinionated, strong-willed, tough forceful," she added.

"And very caring, gentle, loving — he was a great uncle — and smart."

Even after he was diagnosed, Andrew — who loved working with his hands and was apprenticing to be a plumber — built baby gates for Corvec's kids.

He was also tough.

Katy recalled one game in particular, when he dislocated two fingers, as well as some other damage to his hand. Her brother's idea was to use electrical tape to wrap up the injury and keep playing, but he was stopped by the team's trainers.

•••••

This weekend's event is just one Team Andrew Forever has planned in their goal to raise $30,000.

In October, they will once again take part in the Light the Night Walk.

The walk, which takes place on the Stanley Park Seawall on October 20, is another fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada.

For more information or to donate, contact Corvec at corvay@gmail.com or call 604-881-0115.

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