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'Squash CF' pumpkin launch fundraiser in Kingston a hit again this year


KINGSTON, NS - The seventh annual 'Squash CF' pumpkin launch fundraiser for cystic fibrosis was a huge success.
The Nov. 4 event, at the Credit Union Centre in Kingston, has had great reviews for the past six years, and no one had more fun than event organizer (and founder) Tim Vallillee.
“It's a wonderful day for 'Squash CF',” Vallillee said just before the 11 a.m. kickoff of the event. “Most of our faithful sponsors are back, and we have a fantastic group of volunteers as always.”
The sponsors, and especially the volunteers, have been, and continue to be, crucial to the success of 'Squash CF'. To name only a few, Vallillee cited “the Mid-Annapolis Valley Kinsmen Club, Goucher's Farm Market, which supplies all our pumpkins, and Superstore for the food.”
He also noted the tireless efforts of the organizing committee and the dozens of willing volunteers who gladly lend their time to make the event a success.
When it was first held six years ago, 'Squash CF' was unique, both in its premise and the outlet for the funds raised: Cystic Fibrosis Canada. Vallillee is pleased “there are now two other CF pumpkin events being held, one in Moncton and one in Ottawa, and next fall, there's going to be one in Kentville, on the same day as ours. All because we started this here six years ago, I'm super proud of that.”
Along the way, Vallillee and his committee have formed the South West Nova and Valley chapter of CF Canada, with his wife, Agatha Bourassa, currently serving as chapter president.
Everything else aside, the pumpkin launch is all kinds of fun, for participants and spectators alike. People purchase pumpkins for the chance to 'launch' them, from two large slingshot-type launchers, at a series of sponsored targets for a chance to win donated prizes. “We've always been able to come up with some creative and unusual targets,” Vallillee said, and this year was no exception.
The three targets furthest away, including a donated old car, were attached to prizes worth up to $500 in goods and services. Vallillee explained, “anyone hitting the car on the fly goes into contention to win a $500 VISA card from Bruce Auto Group.” 
SuperStore provided a $500 gift card for the ultimate winner of a target made up of “a pyramid of grocery carts.”
In addition to the adult launchers, there was a special child-size launcher for the younger children.
At the end of the day, the 'finalists' for the various prizes took part in 'launch-offs' to determine the winner of that prize.
Vallillee confirmed, “the past couple of years, we've launched 600 pumpkins. We're hoping to top that this time.” As well, he added, Scotiabank agreed to match funds up to $2,000. 
He predicted, “we'll blow that away,” based on the past couple of years when the event cleared over $5,000.
He optimistically stated, “I'd like to see us clear $10,000 this year.”
Vallillee suffers from cystic fibrosis himself, which was a major motivation for him starting the 'Squash CF' fundraiser. He has been on a new drug, Kalydeco, for three-and-a half years now, and because of it, “my life is completely different.”
Kalydeco, he pointed out, “only helps about three per cent of the CF population. Fortunately for me, I'm one of that three per cent.”
More recently, thanks in large part to the success of his and other CF fundraiser events, “another new drug, called Orkambi, is slowly becoming available. We're fighting the same kind of battle we did with the drug I'm on,” but he remains optimistic both drugs will eventually be available to all CF sufferers.
Meanwhile, Vallillee will continue organizing the 'Squash CF' event in Kingston for as long as he can, aiming to make it “a fun event for all ages.”
 

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