A sleigh ride for kids

By David F. Rooney

Every year young Liam Francis comes to Revelstoke from Calgary to snowmobile. That’s not a terribly unusual thing by itself, but Liam has general dystonia and when he comes to ride here with his dad Dave Francis it’s always in the company of other kids, like Drew Derosier of Revelstoke.

“I like riding ’cause I like the speed,” Liam said with a grin as his ┬ácousin Jordie Patterson-Francis of Revelstoke settled onto the saddle behind him. “And I like hot dogs, too.”

That last bit was a clear reference to the annual Snowarama fund-raising snowmobile ride and barbeque on behalf of Easter Seals organized by the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club.

For Drew Derosier getting out on a sled is a lifelong burst of freedom that is central to some of his most cherished memories.

“We had a sled when I was little,” the Grade Eight student from RSS said. “When I was seven my dad took me side-hilling. I always remember that.”

And he’ll likely remember this ride, too.

Liam’s annual trips here are sponsored by Yamaha Canada whose Regional and District Sales Managers Brendan Keys and Randy Swenson were really impressed by the youngster’s love of snowmobiling.

“We met Liam at the Snowmobile Show in Calgary four years ago,” Keys said as the two boys were readied for their trip up the mountain. “His family kept bringing him back to the show and we were really impressed. It was his dream to go mountain snowmobiling so we decided to help him so that.”

The results was Liam’s Sleigh Ride for Kids that helps bring kids out to Revelstoke for a snowmobile adventure.

Here are some images of the start of the boys’ ride up the mountain on Saturday.

Drew Derosier (left) and Liam Francis (right) were ready to roll on Saturday when friends and family gathered to take the boys up Boulder Mountain. Getting to go snowmobiling is a big deal for the two boys. Drew, a Reveltokian, has cerebral palsey, and Liam, who is from Calgary has general dystonia. David F. Rooney photo
Liam Francis, with his cousin Jordie Patterson-Francis looking up at Karen Hunt, looks like he's ready to hit the slopes. David F. Rooney photo
Drew Derosier tries out his father Cliff's helmet and goggles, David F. Rooney photo
Arms pumping in the air, Liam (in front of his father Dave Francis on the left) and Drew (sitting in front of his dad Cluff Derosier) head out for a trip up Boulder Mountain and the annual Snowarama burgers and hit dogs. David F. Rooney photo