The Maritimes Plan to Make Waves for the IWK

Bedford Basin

The IWK is an incredible children and women’s hospital located in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  The IWK is known as a ‘sick kids’ hospital and one where many successful births regularly take place.  Most people in the Maritimes know of its reputation for excellence, but few know the depth and breadth of the expertise its professionals deliver day in and day out to the families who find themselves in need of outstanding health care.  What most people don’t know is the number of different ways the IWK provides immediate and on-site care to its direct patients and their extended families.  Beyond the immediate physical needs, the IWK also provides on-going emotional, spiritual and psychological support as well as cutting edge research aimed at improving the life of our youth.  Tim Outhit, one of Halifax’s prominent municipal counsellors opined, “It is remarkable that our city, of only 400,000 citizens, is the home of a facility of the repute and excellence that is the IWK.”

In short, the IWK is a gem. Bedford Basin Ian Dawson, our event chair, experienced the full impact of the IWK’s support in July 2013.  His family was involved in a serious motor vehicle incident on Nova Scotia’s Highway 101 as one enters the scenic Annapolis Valley along the Bay of Fundy.  The minivan Dawson’s wife was driving was struck from behind in a construction zone by a transport truck.  His older daughter was hospitalized for two nights at the IWK with serious but non-life threatening head and body injuries.  His wife and younger daughter walked away from the crash, but both have full and traumatic recollection of that fateful day.  Worse, Dawson’s neighbour’s son Evan was severely injured in the crash.  Evan ultimately succumbed to his injures at the IWK on his sixth birthday.  Dawson recalls that at least twelve support teams touched both families including Psychologists,  Pastoral Care, Neurosurgery and Organ Donations to name only a few.  Dawson noted “I always had a vague notion that the IWK was a good place and one you go for the birth of your child.  I had no idea just how compassionate and holistic their patient care is.”     

Make Waves It is against this backdrop that September 27, 2014 will mark the inaugural Make Waves for the IWK which will feature a sailing regatta and shore-side Community Day.  Says Dawson, “From tragedy, often comes good.  This event is a great big Thank You to the IWK.  Our goal is to simply enable the IWK to continue to expand its good work.  It is as simple as that.”  Dawson, a local naval architect, has spent a lifetime racing sailboats in Ontario and Nova Scotia.  He noticed a relative lack of charitable events in the local sailing calendar and figured there is not enough pursuit racing that takes place.  

Make Waves was born from a desire to fill both of these gaps with one event.  Geoffrey Milder, IWK Foundation Fundraising Development Officer, recalls his first reaction to the event’s pitch.  “We thought it was such an incredible idea that we just had to get involved and get fully behind it.  It is truly unique.  It marries two high notes in terms of Maritime traditions; the sea and our philanthropic sense of community.  We are glad to have Make Waves as part of the extended IWK Foundation family.”  

The organizing committee’s goals are ambitious, but realistic.  The IWK is a regional hospital.  To mirror that reality, plans are afoot to hold races in a number of locations around the Maritimes.  Make Waves for the IWK is pushing to see parallel events held in the Bedford Basin in Halifax, Mahone Bay (site of Chester Race Week), the Bras D’Or Lakes in Cape Breton, Charlottetown, PEI and Shediac, NB. While one focus of the event is sailboat racing, developing an attractive destination to the Bedford Waterfront also factors heavily into the plans.  As a pursuit race, there is a staggered start and, in theory, all boats will finish at the same time.  One interesting twist on ratings is that participants will be able to buy their way into better ratings based on their success in fundraising.  The more funds a boat raises, the more favourable the rating.  Nonetheless, all participants will be able to come to the shore-side at about the same time without any post-race calculations to determine the winner.  Instant gratification, easy for those on shore to understand with no delay in kicking off the live auction and awards presentations.  The Community Day is expected to consist of local merchants offering their goods and services, musical entertainment, children’s activities, a silent auction and live auction.  

Awards will be given to those who did well on the water, but the meaningful trophy will be a memorial to Evan, the boy who was killed in the crash.  This perpetual trophy will be awarded to the top fundraising boat. The event has its roots in something truly meaningful.  The event has fun and community as its focus. Maritime boat owners can register their boats at  Donations to your boat of choice can be made through the IWK donations portal at  The IWK will issue tax receipts directly to the donors.

Please contact Make Waves at the following should you be interesting in volunteering or offering sponsorship support: Email: Facebook: Twitter:


Supporter Logo Meet the team:

Ian Dawson, Organizing Committee Chair Geoffrey Milder, IWK Foundation Fundraising Development Officer Tim Outhit, Municipal and Regulatory Affairs Alyson Murray, Public Relations and Communications Matt Christie, On-Water Event Planning Sheri Christie, On-Land Event Planning Charlie MacEachern, Sponsorship Karen Fowler, Graphics Artist Glen MacDuff, Bedford Basin YC Rear Commodore Dale Eager, Treasurer

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