Saving Lives - One Penny At A Time


North Shore Rescue

For the past 40 years, North Shore Rescue has been helping folks who play in the mountains above Vancouver, Canada, get home safely.  As one who lives and plays on the 'Shore, I frequently see the rescue helicopters.  I read of rescues in our community newspaper and I hear the occasional inside story from friends who volunteer with NSR to get up in the middle of the night and help lost or injured people.  NSR depends on grants and donations to fund its programs and operating costs.  To most who visit the mountains of the north shore, NSR is there like an insurance policy:  out of mind until that unfortunate time when it's needed.  

Like most folks, I'd rather hit myself on the head with a hammer than think about insurance.  I supported NSR in spirit and with the occasional donation whenever someone I know shook me down.  Then I went MIA (missing in action) while out bagging peaks.  I'll spare you the details of what it was like to spend a cold, October night on a remote mountain peak under a tinfoil blanket with my running buddy.  I'll swear under oath that there was no need for a rescue.  To make a long story short, however, I benefited from a helicopter ride home thanks to NSR.  Since then, I've been acutely aware of the value of that insurance policy and an active fundraiser for NSR.






The KneeKnacker

This July I'm planning to complete the KneeKnackering North Shore Trail Run for the 20th time.  I stumbled across the event when I came to Vancouver in 1991.  The KneeKnacker introduced me to the North Shore mountains.  The people I met during the training runs (Enzo, Ron, Neil, Paul, Brian, Peter, Darren, Tony... you know who you are) became, and have remained, my best pals.  My wife has completed the 50K/30-mile race in under the 10-hour time limit.  She and my kids look forward to managing the Cleveland Dam aid station every year.  I've completed 105 ultras around the world, but the KneeKnacker is the one I want to return to each year.   On the occasion of attempting #20, I'd like to do something for the race that's done so much for me.

So how to reconcile what I hope to be my 20th KneeKnacker with helping North Shore Rescue?

I've been thinking about this a lot since KneeKnacker Race Director Kelsy Trigg and the Grandpappy of the KneeKnacker, Enzo Federico, ganged-up on me a couple of weeks ago.  For years and years, the KneeKnacker has supported NSR with a check.  This year, Kelsey, Enzo and the event organizing team are reaching out to participants to support NSR in a more active way by asking they be personally accountable for a donation. 

Hang tight... I'm getting to the punch line.  There's another tangent I have to clarify first...



The Demise of the Canadian One Cent Piece



Canada is doing away with the penny. 

Yes, that familiar brown 1-cent coin is going the way of the dodo bird.  My understanding is that the last Canadian penny was minted just minutes ago on Friday 4 May 2012.  

This begs the question, "What is going to happen with all of the pennies that are in circulation?"











The KneeKnacker/NSR Penny Drive


Which brings me to my request of you.  Please give your pennies to NSR.

I'd like to raise $500 for NSR this way.  That's 50,000 (fifty thousand) pennies.

I will start by empting the beer mug of pennies that is sitting on my desk into a bucket that's labeled "KneeKnacker NSR Penny Fund".  By the end of the day, I'll collect from my wife and my kids and toss their pennies into the bucket.  I'll fish through my sock drawer and my pockets and I'll stuff my hands down the sides of the sofa until there's not a penny left in my house.  I'll spark-up the metal detector and I'll fish for pennies in the yard and under the deck.  By the end of the weekend, I aim to have all of my family's pennies doing something useful.

Tomorrow is the North Shore Enduro trail run.  It's on a wonderful 7.6K loop course in the North Shore mountains, so it's perfect for beginning runners.  For those who want more, you can keep on running for up to 6-hours and challenge the record of 7 laps.  It's one of 2 Club Fat Ass "open house" events that are free to anyone who is new to the Club.  Not much time left, but I'm going to try and get the word out that I'll collect pennies for NSR at the Enduro, too.  Please tell your friends to come out for a run... and to collect their pennies and bring them along.  We can put them in Piggie and I'll dump them in the bucket when I get home.

I'll also collect pennies at each of the CFA runs I participate in between now and this years KneeKnacker race.  In fact, I’ll collect pennies at any training run I participate in, too.  If you come by my place with pennies, I'll let you put them in the bucket.

Just so you don’t think I will spend your pennies on beer, I'll take a photo of the inside of the bucket each week and post it here.  I'll also post the names of everyone who contributes one (1) cent or more below so when it comes time to make the donation, NSR will know who to thank.  No, I can't give you a tax receipt.  Yes, if you want to count how many pennies you chip in, I will note that when I acknowledge your donation.

Remember the story about the dude who swapped a paper-clip for a house in Saskatchewan?  If you tell your friends and they tell their friends, if you tweet, Facebook and otherwise let folks know what to do with their useless pennies, maybe we could get NSR a helicopter!

Woo hoo... this is going to be fun!



Ean Jackson's picture

And the total is....

$284.37, 70-cents in Canadian Tire money and some euro cents and other foreign change.

Thank you!

Ean Jackson's picture

A Whack of People at the KKNSR Finisher Party

Thank you to the many people who chipped-in at packet pick-up and at the finisher party.  Goodness, those sacks of cash were heavy!  I am not looking forward to rolling pennies from now till Christmas.  Will let you know what the final tally is as soon as I find out.

Ean Jackson's picture

Chris Boulton, Curb Ivanic, Marty Wanless, Baldwin Lee

chipped in at the banquet

Ean Jackson's picture

Alaia Alsharif

Alaia and I have been trying to coordinate a time and place for her to pass along a big baggie of coins.  We caught-up last night at the KneeKnacker registration desk where she was volunteering.  "Here's my donation", said Alaid, "And here's a crisp $20 from one of my co-workers who wanted to help, too!"  

Thank you, Alaia and Stephen Proulx!


Ean Jackson's picture

Doug Keir

Thanks for the baggie of change.  Picked it up from the cooler in your carport.  Goodness... might want to give that thaing a wash, as there was moss groing on the mould!  blush

Ean Jackson's picture

Pano Skrivanos and Dave Berg

Pano and Dave dropped with a bag of pennies... some nickles and dimes in there, too.  Thanks, guys!

Ean Jackson's picture

Mark Schmitz and the Famdamily

Mark made a special trip to my place on Sunday to drop off the pennies he, his wife and 2 kids had collected for the Kneeknacker NSR fund.  The kids and I discussed how the money might be used.  Ideas included:  for rope, for bandaids, for a bike, for blankets.  As if on cue, the yellow helicopter flew overhead!

Thx, guys! 

Ean Jackson's picture

Erik Jackson

Cleaned out his room and found 102 pennies, which he counted and put in a baggie and then deposited in the milk jug for NSR.  Thanks, Erik!

Ean Jackson's picture

Donna Rodman and Diane Winram

Donna rode by my place in a torrential downpour this past weekend to drop off a baggie of pennies and Canadian Tire money for the fund.  Thanks, girls!

BTW, Donna is the person I credit with the idea of collecting Canadian Tire money for the NSR fund.  Some little-known trivia about Canadian Tire money:

  • the happy Scottish-looking dude on Canadian Tire money has a name.  Any guesses?  
    (Hint: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Tire_money)
  • there is truth to the rumor that, back in the day, Russians used to accept Canadian tire money.  My Dad paid for beers in Moscow with it during the 1972 Canada-Russia hockey series
Ean Jackson's picture

Donna Double Dips

Actually, Donna has come back with more pennies twice!  Thx, Donna.  Great to catch-up with you last night.

kcongra's picture

Drum roll

Special request - could we perhaps, maybe, if we ask nice - get a running total? Gives extra push to gather up those little coppers. Thanks!

Ean Jackson's picture

No way I'm counting pennies...

but I can say for certain we have a ways to go before we can buy NSR a helicopter.

Keep those pennies and Canadian Tire money donations going!

Ean Jackson's picture

Andy Healey



















Holy smokes, Andy!  How long have YOU been saving pennies for?  When I got home, I weighed that bag of pennies... it came in at 4.2 kilograms!!!  There was also Canadian Tire money in there, too.  

A massive "Thank you!" to you and your family for what is the largest single donation of pennies to this fundraising effort to date.

Oh... and congratulations on being the first to finish the XTC 50K!  http://www.clubfatass.com/events/xtc/results/2012


NSR better appreciate it,

NSR better appreciate it, that was my kid's college fund!

Ean Jackson's picture

Johanna Jackson

cleaned out her room and found a big pile of pennies, which she carefully counted (241) and promptly plunked in the milk jug.  Thx, JJ!

Ean Jackson's picture

Yes, We Take Canadian Tire Money

A great suggestion by Donna Rodman:  "Why don't you collect Canadian Tire Money?  NSR could buy stuff they need with it."

Why not?  So, if you have any Canadian Tire money kicking around that you'd like to see go to a great cause, please bring it, along with your pennies, and drop it in the milk can.  I'll note your name and, if you'd like, the amount of your Canadian Tire money contribution on the list.

By the way, I will bring the milk can to the start of the XTC (http://www.clubfatass.com/events/xtc) on Saturday 9 June at 7:45 or so, so please bring pennies and Canadian Tire money along in your hydration pack!

Ean Jackson's picture

Joan Cubbon

A beautiful, round, fire-engine red box was on my doorstep yesterday.  "Another kid comes forward on Mother's Day?  I thought that only happened on Father's Day?", I figured as I reached down to pick up the parcel.

It weighed a ton!  In the box, a whack of pennies:  some rolled, some loose, and a note from Joan itemizing $8.28 for the NSR fund.  Thank you!

Ean Jackson's picture

John Machray

hobbled up to the milk can and made a donation

Ean Jackson's picture

Kristie Congram

is the first to donate virtual pennies.  Holy smokes, Kristie, where on earth did you stash 4,512 pennies?  You must thave needed a wheelbarrow to get them to the bank!

kcongra's picture

a donation to commemorate the day the penny died

and Jason if you want to match the donation, your 'Murican version is 54.12

Sibylle's picture

Cool. Kristy.  Thank you -

Cool. Kristy.  Thank you - Jackson is out of town and judging from his last few trips does not even have time to call his wifey, yet alone checking on his pennies ;-)  Which reminds you, ever since I am searching for pennies, I haven't found any!  Go figure.  I will hit the folks at work today.


Ean Jackson's picture

Sibylle Tinsel

is in for a penny.  Come on, you can do better than that!

Sibylle's picture

I am still searching for

I am still searching for pennies...


Ean Jackson's picture

Found what appeared to be an annonymous

donation to the fund on the breakfast table this morning.  You're the first to donate to the fund twice!

Ean Jackson's picture

Virtual Pennies?

Ean Jackson's picture

Yes, Jason...

I will take pennies with Lincoln's profile on them.

Ean Jackson's picture

Jackson's In!

I kicked things off with the first contribution on the day the penny died.

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