The annual one-day family ski event is held in memory of Cathy (Bagnell) Fitzpatrick, a Truro resident who died in 2004 after battling cancer.
“Cathy skied at Wentworth all her life,” recalled organizing committee member Marion Retson of Brookfield. “Cathy lived the speed and camaraderie of the sport. Nothing made her happier than welcoming new families to the hill. She called everyone by name and everyone adored her.”
Holding a race in her memory originated with Steve and Anne Malick of Wentworth.
“Cathy had a great way of mixing fun with competition,” said Steve, who taught for 32 years at Cobequid Educational Centre. “She was very competitive but it never left the theme of fair play. Anyone who ever met Cathy found an excellent personality. Once you met her for the first time you would never forget her. She was that kind of person.”
Several families and Ski Wentworth quickly supported the plan and the first race was held in February of 2005.
“The original planners discovered countless help coming from Cathy‘s friends and the Fitzpatrick and Bagnell families,” said Retson.
“Today, Cathy‘s children are staying close to their mother by leading the way. At the centre of it all, it’s still Cathy!”
Added Steve: “I guess we never thought this ski race would become such a legacy. I feel it has been such a success because we tried to keep it the very same as the first year.”
The family ski day includes fun for the whole family with kids as young as four joining in.
“The entire hill gets involved,” Retson said. “It’s all based on the principals of having fun, being competitive and helping a charity. When the prizes are handed out upstairs in the loft later, it turns into so much fun. I would describe the day as not overly competitive but really a family fun thing.”
Charities benefiting are Cancer Care, Canadian Cancer Society, Hospice Society, the local food bank and school scholarships.
Cathy’s children – Morgan, Jodie and John-david – and their father David were involved with the event again this year.
“Three of four grandchildren were also in attendance,” said Morgan. “We all usually take part each year. It is touching and it is amazing to see how many people join in.
“Our family appreciates the day very much. We’re a big team between our family members and all of our mother’s friends. It’s wonderful how everyone keeps pulling together to put this race on.”