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

Vancouver Island walkers raising money to bring Syrian family to Ireland

Aim is to trek 5,000K by Easter Sunday

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.

RELATED: Syrian refugees celebrate fifth anniversary in Canada with virtual event

RELATED: Kilted Scotsman’s walking trek across Canada launches in Tofino

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 km.

“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 here. 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.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Just Posted

First responders on scene at Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh School south of Nanaimo on Thursday afternoon. (Karl Yu/The News Bulletin)
One child airlifted after quad accident at Nanaimo district school

First responders called to Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh School at around 3:30 p.m.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

B.C. Centre for Disease Control reports 65 new cases in Oceanside health area April 4-10

A nearly four-hour standoff at an apartment complex on Cowichan Lake Road in Duncan ended peacefully on Wednesday, April 14. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Police standoff at Duncan apartment ends peacefully

Officers surround building as homeowner held in apartment for nearly four hours by adult son

Pacific Institution in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media file photo)
Inmate with ties to Victoria dies in Abbotsford institution

Brodie Bingley, who was sentenced for aggravated assault in Maple Ridge died April 13

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The Baynes Sound Connector leaves Denman Island en route to Buckley Bay. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Baynes Sound Connector undergoing upgrades

The MV Quinitsa is providing service between Buckley Bay and Denman Island

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Quatse, the abandoned sea otter pup who was rescued in Port Hardy. (Marine Mammal Rescue Centre photo)
Quatse the sea otter pup continues to recover in treatment

Quatse’s last “pupdate” was on March 31, where it was noted she is “doing well and gaining weight.”

Hwy. 4 was shut down in both directions for 10 hours on March 23 as a rock bluff was blasted as part of Kennedy Hill’s ongoing construction. Commuters can expect five more 10 hour closures on five consecutive Wednesdays beginning April 28. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Five 10-hour Pacific Rim highway closures planned in the next 6 weeks

Closures needed for rock blasting as part of the Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement project.

Most Read