If you haven’t tried outdoor yoga while surrounded by Nigerian dwarf goats before, here’s your chance.
A unique fundraiser for a young man battling cancer is taking place Thanksgiving Monday, (Oct. 10) at 22210 102nd Ave., in North Langley, starting at 11 a.m.
This ‘goat yoga’ event is being organized by Maple Ridge resident Nicole Roy, who teaches yoga and Pilates at Kushala Yoga in Port Moody.
Taylor Hart, the brother of one of Roy’s students, Kendra Hart, was diagnosed with Metastatic gastric cancer (Stage 4 stomach cancer) last October, at the age of 26.
Taylor has not responded well to chemotherapy, and his oncologist believes his best treatment option would be to switch to immunotherapy.
According to Taylor’s GoFundMe page, immunotherapy – specifically the drug Pembrolizumab – has had “amazing success” with melanoma… and is approved for its use in Canada.
But it’s still in phase three trials for gastric cancers.
“Basically, this means it’s not covered for cancer patients. Taylor can only get the treatment through a ‘compassionate basis’ through the company [which] makes the drug, or through the government. He recently applied for both, but was denied despite his young age,” it’s noted on the GoFundMe page.
“The next option was to see if his extended healthcare would cover part of the cost (he is still waiting on a response). Finally his last option is to pay for the drug himself, the cost would be approximately $100,000 a year. This drug therapy is roughly $8,000 every three weeks and not covered for a 27 year old…despite the fact it could potentially dramatically help him.”
Roy wanted to help in some way.
She asked her friend and student Kenneth Ku, who keeps goats on his property in Langley, and the two came up with the idea of a yoga class with goats to raise funds.
For roughly an hour, Roy will lead participants through an all-levels yoga class on Ku’s property while, Roy said, “his goats meander around us, offering cuddles, bleats and nibbles.”
The class is open to anyone who would like to participate and is by donation, with all proceeds going to Taylor’s treatment fund.
Anyone, regardless of their yoga experience, can simply show up with cash donations and then take part in the class.
“Kendra will be here and she’ll collect it all [donations],” Roy said.
Ku suggests each participant carry a handful of seeds to entice the goats to mingle.
“Maybe that will bring the goats to each person,” Ku said.
Ku had approached Roy, half joking, about hosting a ‘goat yoga’ class.
“I was half joking, half serious and I said, ‘Oh, that sounds interesting!’ So I came out to visit his place and I thought this would be great for a fundraiser,” Roy said.
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Serendipitously, a few days later, Kendra mentioned her GoFundMe page to Roy, asking her to spread the word about it.
It fell seamlessly into place; the ‘goat yoga’ event came into being.
Roy has been touched by cancer. Her father, Jean-Pierre Beaulne, lost his battle with bone cancer four-and-a-half years ago.
She also has two sons, 18-year-old Kale and 20-year-old Kino, and, like Kendra would for her brother, said “she would do anything for them.”
For his part, Ku said he is happy to help.
“I think it’s interesting for people to be around animals and interact with them,” he said.
The fundraiser is happening rain or shine.
“Doing yoga in the rain is not easy,” she said. “But fighting cancer is a hell of a lot harder.”
To find Ku’s property, drive along 96th Avenue near Fort Langley and turn onto McKinnon Crescent.
Turn left (south) on 102nd Avenue and the property will be on the left.