Epilepsy Southwestern Ontario surpasses fundraising goal with CK Ribfest

Mayor Darrin Canniff and Michelle Franklin at the Chatham Ribfest (Photo courtesy Michelle Franklin)

The local branch of Epilepsy Southwestern Ontario will be getting a bigger funding boost than it anticipated after a successful Ribfest in Chatham-Kent.

Epilepsy Southwestern Ontario (ESWO) Chatham-Kent held its Drive-thru Ribfest this past weekend at the Memorial Arena Parking lot in Chatham. According to ESWO CEO Michelle Franklin, organizers were blown away by how much support the event received.

The event was entry-by-donation with no fixed entrance fee, instead, it was a “donate what you can” model.

Heading into the event, ESWO had a funding goal of $15,000, which it was able to achieve and then some. According to Franklin, over $20,000 was raised through donations from the over 2,300 vehicles that came through. Altogether, the organization raised approximately $43,920 through the event.

“It was amazing,” said Franklin. “It was super hot, but we were overwhelmed by the generosity of the community.”

Despite not being a typical Ribfest and having to held as a drive-thru event because of COVID-19 restrictions, Franklin said things still ran very smoothly.

She attributed a lot of the success to all the volunteers that helped make the event possible.

“It was great, we had a committee of super volunteers who had expertise in each area of fundraising and they excelled,” she explained. “We had lots of comments about how well organized it was.”

According to ESWO, one in 100 people across the province live with seizures. Franklin said all of the money that was raised during the event will stay local.

“All of the funds that we raised at the Ribfest over the weekend will be used to fund public education services and support services for families living with epilepsy throughout the Chatham-Kent area,” she explained.

Franklin added that anyone living with epilepsy can contact the organization by calling 1-866-epilepsy and will be automatically connected to the closest support centre.