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Rugby Women rumble online against COVID-19 on behalf of people in need

Two Women's Sevens rugby players take on COVID-19

Friday April 24, 2020 | LANGFORD

by Mary Brooke ~ West Shore Voice News

For several years, the Mother’s Day weekend in May has been a rugby weekend in Langford, as Canada Women’s Sevens would take to the field with a high-energy home game at Westhills Stadium.

With the COVID-19 pandemic and all (notably no mass gatherings … a killer for the professional sports industry), there is no Canada Women’s Sevens event in Langford this year.

Caroline Crossley, Rugby Canada
Canada Women’s Sevens team member Caroline Crossley. [Rugby Canada’

Meanwhile, players from the Women’s Sevens team have ventured forth to help out during the pandemic. Caroline Crossley and Pam Buisa from the team are the main organizers along with a couple other locals.

Crossley was winner of the Rugby Canada Female Young Player of the Year Award in 2015 and made her HSBC Women’s 7s Series debut in Dubai in 2015 at the age of 17. She scored the first ever Commonwealth Games Women’s Sevens try in April 2018. She was a Pan American Games 2019 Gold Medalist.

Pam Buisa
Canada Women’s Sevens team member Pam Buisa. [Rugby Canada’

Pam Buisa is a Pan American Games 2019 Gold Medalist and Youth Olympic Games 2014 Silver Medalist.

The local community-based initiative is Vancouver Island Steps Up – Community Relief Fund (VISU).  It’s aimed at supporting low-income residents of Vancouver Island who have been affected disproportionately by the COVID-19 crisis.

The goal is to help:

“Our goal is to support those who may have fallen through the cracks of our current standardized government aid programs,” said Crossley in a release this week. 

“One size fits all methods are a good start, but we are not a one size fits all community. Vancouver Island is weathering this storm, but we do not all have the same resources to keep us safe,” says Buisa.

To activate their initiative, they’ve set up a website and a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $15,000. So far in six days they’ve raised $5,930 through 105 donors. One donation of $600 near the start helped kick things off, with most donations so far in the range of $20 to $150.

“We will do our best to use intersectional needs based assessment to distribute the funds,” says Crossley. There is an online application process that collects location, current financial situation and access to current social programs. They do not appear to be affiliated with established non-profit organizations.

“Not everybody who applies for the fund will be able to receive support,” says south Vancouver Island community activist Emily Percival-Patterson, who appears in the video on the Vancouver Island Steps Up – Community Relief Fund (VISU) webpage.

Assessing needs and distributing funds:

The group’s own panel will assess needs, and distribute funds by e-transfer. They will publish regular anonymized reports itemizing the types and amounts of support made available to recipients.

“We will be reviewing the first round of applications from Friday May 1st at 11:59 pm PST onwards,” said Crossley today. “Applicants who will be receiving funds can expect to receive an e-transfer by May 8, 2020,” she says.

The Vancouver Island Steps Up – Community Relief Fund (VISU) can be reached by email at vanisle.stepsup@gmail.com and also has a presence on Instagram @a.2020vision and on Twitter @VStepsUp