CONSTANCE BAY – Like he has taught thousands of Taekwon Do students over his 25 years in the Bay, Ron Sparks overcame his emotions and kept his focus on his goals while honouring his departed wife at a fundraiser last Sunday (Oct. 6).
The Third Annual Kicking Breast Cancer in the Butt fundraiser was an event that brought up a lot of “bittersweet” memories for Sparks whose wife Judith lost her battle with breast cancer just last Boxing Day.
“My wife was alive at the second annual event and she received a huge amount of support,” Sparks told West Carleton Online struggling to fight back tears. “This year has a different feel for me right now.”
The event raised a staggering $32,000 in its second year. Which was more than double what the impressive first year raised.
The Kicking Breast Cancer in the Butt event also marks another important date for Sparks Taekwon Do – it was the 25th anniversary of Sparks’ martial arts school in Constance Bay.
Before the official start to the run, Sparks and dignitaries Mayor Jim Watson, Coun. Eli El-Chantiry and MP Karen McCrimmon spoke to the fundraisers.
It was a challenge for Sparks to get through his speech.
“Welcome to our celebration and a bit of a memorial for my wife as well,” he said through tears. “It’s been an amazing 25 years. I have a family here now. I’m so happy you are all here and I wish my wife was too.”
The mayor gave Sparks a framed certificate for his fundraising efforts.
“I want to say thanks to Ron and his family,” El-Chantiry said. “Cancer has touched all of us. Your wife was a great supporter.”
A big part of Spark’s extended family includes Pennylyn Woodruff who Sparks credits with doing a lot of the leg work of the event.
“She is the dynamo behind this,” Sparks said. “I’ve done very little. It’s been all my Taekwon Do family. Penny has been the driving force. I know she has an army. Thank you.”