New charity tie for Now That's Ugly Society

The fourth annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Dash is Dec. 2 at Rocky Point Park in Port Moody.

Jordan Birch has big plans for his charity, Now That's Ugly Society.

So does the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

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This year, the Port Moody-based organization that hosts the annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Dash and the Now That's Ugly Sweater Party teamed up with the foundation to take the cause national.

Society co-founder and Anmore resident Jordan Birch said the partnership is a match made in heaven. "The plan has always been to go outside of B.C.," he said, "so this is our last year refining the recipe before we replicate it across Canada."

Next year, they hope to launch the inaugural Ugly Christmas Sweater Dash in Victoria before branching out east, he said.

The third annual dash at Rocky Point Park in 2016 drew about 400 participants, many of whom sported tacky knits and other holiday costumes as they walked or ran the Shoreline Trail.

Combined with the Now That's Ugly Sweater Party, held for the past 16 years at The Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, Birch's society hauled in thousands of dollars for the Children's Wish Foundation (of which Pitt Meadows resident Hannah Kolby benefitted last year).

But with the Make-A-Wish Foundation — "which does similar work but has a broader scope and an international presence," Birch said — the proceeds will go into a general kitty to grant future wishes for sick children rather than targeted to one specific child.

"We don't have wishes lined up in advance," said Stuart Chase, marketing and communications director for Make-A-Wish in B.C and Yukon. "But most of the money we raise stays in the Lower Mainland."

According to its 2016 annual report, the provincial group brought in $1.8 million last year — including $735,423 from events — to pay for 123 wishes (95 of them to B.C. and Yukon children). Across Canada last year, donations and grants bought in $12.6 million for the organization.

For the Ugly dash and party, Make-A-Wish will have in-house staff to push the two festive events and the ability to handle ticket sales. "It's all hands on deck in terms of staffing," Chase said.

Birch said the dash is a great way to kick off the holiday season with the family and he encourages participants to dress "appropriately" — that is, the more colourful and off-putting the threads, the better.

As part of the registration package, participants receive some swag such as the designated Ugly toque — this year, in the new colours of blue and grey.

And the four microbrews along Brewers' Row, across the street from Rocky Point Park, are also signed up to be sponsors, Birch said. "We are blessed to have so much support."

• Entry to the Now That's Ugly Christmas Sweater Dash is $55 for adults and $35 for youth (aged nine to 18). The 5k run starts in the parking lot at Rocky Point Park (2800 Murray St., Port Moody) at 11 a.m. on Dec. 2. Visit






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