Huge crowd takes part in Lola’s Dip into Lake Ontario in memory of Lola Bower

Photo above, a huge crowed turned out for the second annual Lola’s Dip in Lake Ontario on the afternoon of Sunday, Oct. 23. The event is held in memory of Lola Bower and is also a fundraiser for SickKids Hospital in Toronto. Insert photo, Lola’s parents Geoff and Ofelia after the dip. Lola’s Dip takes place on or near Oct. 23 as that was her birthday. Lola Bower died at the age of 16 days in 2015 due to an enlarged heart. Photos by Donna Braybrook.

The following report on Lola’s Dip which took place in Lake Ontario off Kew Beach on Oct. 23 was submitted to Beach Metro Community News by Ofelia Loret De Mola, mother of Lola.

Currently we are sitting at 110 per cent of our fundraising goal. With double the attendance from last year (we had about 300 people) the Lola Dip 2022 event raised over $17, 500 for SickKids Hospital this year, bringing us to over $43,500 accumulatively. All in memory of our daughter Lola. Our hearts are feeling full.

This is how it all started…on Lola’s first birthday, it was Mar’s idea, who was almost four years old at the time, to sell balloons and brownies and give the money to Sickkids Hospital to help other kids.

Mar decorated an empty tissue box with stickers for donations and I pulled a wagon across Queen Street with Mar and my doula’s daughter and did our first fundraiser.

Mar and I brought 20-something dollars in change to the SickKids Lobby where they have donation bins.

Fast forward six years and we have about 300 people gathering with more love than I can fit in my heart.

We sang happy birthday to Lola and released biodegradable balloons to the sky, we blew bubbles together (bubbles like Lola are beautiful but only there for a short time).

We heard moving speeches by the Sickkids nurse that was with us when Lola passed and the grief co-ordinator that has helped us ever since.

We danced and sang with the amazing live band, we ate and drank, took deep breaths and dipped in three degree Celsius Lake Ontario. We warmed up in a sauna and wore Lola Dip toques, bid for silent auction items, and we reached our fundraising goal and the donations keep on coming…

None of this would be possible without all of you. Thank you for coming, for sending messages, donations, for volunteering your time, for caring.
I am forever grateful to:

Our generous sponsor Shea Warrington (Shea Sells Boutique), who has attended the last few dips with overflowing enthusiasm. What a giver!

When I approached her to sponsor the event, within minutes she replied “Yes I am in 100 per cent!” She didn’t want acknowledgements. She just wanted a kiss. I forced her to bring some signs. It was her idea to get toques made and she paid for them all so we could raise more money.

Marie McBride and her band (Cotter n the Act). Marie would have been Lola’s music teacher at school. I wouldn’t want anybody else leading that happy birthday song. Marie and the Cotter brothers are simply the best.

isauna owned by a couple that has never met us before and yet volunteered their entire day to drive from Aurora and be part of the event. Most beautiful wood burning fire sauna I have ever seen. Nicest people ever!

Felicity Barons and Lori Ives- Baine from Sickkids Hospital for the support during and after Lola’s life.

All the food and beverages at the event were donated. Thanks so much to the local restaurants:

  • Sud Forno Pizza- Thanks Vince!
  • Pattylicious for Jerk Chicken and rice- Thanks Roy!
  • Cobs Bread for scones- Thanks Evelyn!
  • Isabella’s for mochi donuts- Thanks Cecilia!
  • Remarkable Bean for Hot chocolate- Thanks George!
  • Starbucks for coffee.- Thanks DonnaLee!

Also our thanks to the many people that helped behind the scenes: Grail Noble for lending me her sense of “flow” and running the event when I was clearly under-staffed; Duncan Brown for designing our logo- so official we have a logo now and I love it; Clint for giving us your entire weekend without knowing us and leading the breath work before dip; Mette-Margrethe Nielsen for her incredible photography, which helps us savour memories forever; and Shannon Griffin our Sickkids ambassador for teaching me how to fundraise for the last two years.

And also thanks to all the businesses that didn’t hesitate to help with the silent auction, even though it hasn’t been the easiest couple of years. They are:

  • Beach Pilates.
  • Farmacia.
  • Unbounded.
  • Xola.
  • Limon.
  • Therapy Lounge.
  • Afterglow Studio.
  • Hair Dynamix.
  • Sauvignon.
  • Hoppers.
  • Boa.
  • Set me Free.
  • Starbucks.
  • Ed’s Real Scoop.
  • La Diperie.
  • Yumei Sushi.
  • Freshii.
  • Bud’s Coffee.
  • Mastermind.
  • The Pint Public House.
  • Juice and Java.
  • Beaches Natural.
  • Tori’s Bakeshop.

And thanks to all the businesses that didn’t hesitate to help with the silent auction, even though it hasn’t been the easiest couple of years.

And of course our friends and family who helped at the event…you know who you are and we love you and appreciate you. So if you were on balloon or bubble duty, watching the silent auction table or serving pizza and hot chocolate, running the sauna, setting up or cleaning up, thanks for contributing to the most successful Lola Dip yet.

“We are ready” my friends, to do hard and meaningful things because we are not alone and because we are all stronger than we give ourselves credit for.

I am not sure how it would be possible, but I am going to say it anyways…We will make this even bigger and better next year! I love you Lola.

We hope you will join us next year!

— Ofelia, Geoff and Mar

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