Marriage stones in Cape Clear, Ireland, erected 5,000 years ago. Photo supplied

Marriage stones in Cape Clear, Ireland, erected 5,000 years ago. Photo supplied

Comox Valley walkers raising money to bring Syrian family to Ireland

A Comox woman has initiated a sponsored event to help a group of walkers in Ireland who are raising money to bring a Syrian family to their tiny island.

Suzy Venuta made the connection in 2018 when she visited Cape Clear, located at the southernmost part of Ireland. Her friend Mary O’Driscoll asked Venuta if she and her hiking buddies would be interested in helping the virtual 5,000 Kilometres to Damascus fundraising challenge, being undertaken by Cape Clear residents.

The Cléire Community Sponsorship group needs to raise 10,000 euros (about $14,843 Canadian) to sponsor a family from Syria. They’ve so far raised about € 6,000.

Having surpassed the 5,000 km mark — the distance from Syria to Cape Clear — the Irish walkers have upped the challenge to hoof it a further 5,000 kms.

“Because of the amazing support, we are now on our journey back to Cape Clear, and we aim to be here for Easter Sunday,” O’Driscoll said by email.

Venuta formed a team, which O’Driscoll named the Canadian Capers, in reference to someone who has lived on the Cape and left. The Capers team consists of walkers in the Comox Valley, Alberta and Ontario, and one in Ireland. Members send weekly walking/running distances, which Venuta forwards to Ireland. To date, the Canadian Capers have raised 135 of a 500-euro target.

“While we don’t have any control over the pandemic, we can still help someone 7,000 kilometres away, and help a family start a new lease on life,” Venuta said.

Cape Clear became the first Irish island to be accepted as a destination for approved refugees under a United Nations program that gives permission to sponsor a family from war-torn Syria or Lebanon. Last year, O’Driscoll got the ball rolling by applying to the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP), established in 2015 as part of Ireland’s response to the migration crisis in central and southern Europe.

O’Driscoll hopes the family will arrive by September — but first they need to raise the € 10,000.

Venuta invites people to join The Canadian Capers, and send their weekly walking/running distance.

“We are all still connected, and it is by connection that we can help others,” she said.

Join the cause at Tax receipts will be issued for those who wish to donate.

For more information about the virtual walk in Ireland, visit or find the Cléire Community Sponsorship Group on Facebook.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A man was sentenced to more than a year in jail for a late-night robbery in Courtenay last April. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Late-night Courtenay robbery results in 500-plus days in jail

Heatley’s sentence also includes probation, DNA order, firearms ban

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

The CSRHD board has diverging views on its relationship with Island Health. File photo
Comox-Strathcona board ponders relationship with Island Health

“We have to stand together … to get our share of the health budget.”

The CVCDA Accessibility Project is creating safer ramps at the Courtenay facility. Photo supplied
Accessibility project underway at Comox Valley Child Development Association

Over the past month, you may have noticed some construction underway behind… Continue reading

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, was filming near Prospect Lake in Saanich last month. (Photo courtesy Fred Haynes)
Province announces $150,000 towards South Island film studio, fulfilling B.C. NDP promise

Investment to fund movie studio feasibility study at Camosun College

Most Read