A Salmon Arm realtor is getting set to embark on a challenging hike upon an active volcano in support of women’s shelters.
Tina Cosman will head to Ecuador in November to trek at high altitude in support of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation and the Shuswap Area Family Emergency (SAFE) Society.
Cosman isn’t sure how many people are actually aware Royal LePage supports the Shelter Foundation and women’s shelters, but she wants people to know their offices and agents are continuously fundraising through special events and donate through their commissions.
“Our local SAFE Society is an organization I support and believe in,” she said. “As many non-profits in our area, they work tirelessly with limited resources through some very stressful situations.”
The SAFE Society was established in 1979 by a group of women in the community who recognized the need for a women’s shelter and safe haven for women experiencing violence at home.
The Shelter Foundation was founded in 1998 and has grown to become Canada’s largest public foundation dedicated exclusively to supporting women’s shelters and ending violence against women.
More than $41 million has been raised to help provide a new beginning to more than 50,000 women and children every year.
In an effort to help raise awareness, Cosman is embarking on the Ecuador Challenge for Shelter alongside several of her colleagues from across Canada, to help raise money for her local shelter and the Shelter Foundation.
“Domestic violence exists in all communities and incidents have increased during and post pandemic,” Cosman said.
“These shelters, including our own SAFE Society, help support the victims including children, during an incredibly difficult time.”
More than 100 Royal LePage hikers will travel to Quito, Ecuador, and make their way to the base of one of the world’s active volcanoes, nearly 4,000 metres above sea level, in four separate groups.
The hike will take place over a five-day stretch along difficult terrain and unpredictable alpine conditions.
Tents will be the only accommodation and there will be no cell phone service.
While the trek won’t be easy, it will be worthwhile, helping to raise funds for Canadian women’s shelters and programs to reduce family violence.
“This is going to be a huge challenge for me requiring months of training and discipline,” Cosman said.
“I’m very fortunate to have the life I have and my challenge pales in comparison to those dealing with domestic violence.”
The Ecuador challenge is the fifth edition of the popular Challenge for Shelter trekking series in support of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, and the first one Cosman is participating in.
These events encourage real estate agents from across Canada to raise funds and train for a physically demanding adventure and travel experience.
Trekkers have previously hiked in Peru in 2015, Iceland in 2017, Morocco in 2019 and the Canadian Purcell Mountains in 2021, raising over $3 million combined for the Shelter Foundation along the way.
“While the trek won’t be easy, it will be immensely worthwhile,” said Carly Neill, fundraising and communications manager of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation.
“Every dollar raised and every step taken will help make it easier for women and children to walk safely and bravely away from violence and gain hope for a future without abuse.”
Cosman’s fundraising goal is $10,000 and she is hoping to exceed that mark.
She has raised just over $5,500 thus far, and 100 per cent of the funds will be donated to the SAFE Society and the Shelter Foundation, supporting domestic violence prevention programs across Canada, including those focused on youth, to help break the cycle of family violence.
Cosman is also asking the public to come train with her, offering free “Trek with Tina” shirts to those who come out and join in on her training walks and hikes.
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