Saturday brought an old tradition from Verona, Italy to the downtown streets of Victoria. Luca Orlandi of Famoso Pizzeria on Johnson Street, organized the first annual Santa Scoot; a parade of scooters through downtown Victoria. It ended with the scooters arriving in Market Square, where the festivities included gingerbread men, ‘Frozen’ princesses and a live band.
When asked why he wanted to organize the event, Orlandi said, “On Christmas Eve in Verona, there is a big motorcycle parade through the streets and all the riders collect toys from local businesses for the children. It is a big celebration.”
Orlandi contacted the Help Fill a Dream Foundation and arranged to donate a portion of the proceeds from every pizza sold that day to the foundation.
“It is something I wanted to do for the community of Victoria and to help the kids. Help Fill a Dream was a natural choice for me because they are about helping families and children,” said Orlandi. “Everyone on the streets were smiling and waving. It was just wonderful to see their happy faces.”
As the Santa Scoot involved transportation with two wheels, Help Fill a Dream chose to incorporate a ‘Dream Reveal’ of a bicycle during the event for six-year-old Andrei Marti of Saanich, who was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes last summer.
“Andrei has been biking since he could walk. It’s a huge part of his life and he wants to do it all the time,” said mom Annelies Browne. “We go to the free-ride park and the big boys there told Andrei that the Rocky Mountain bike is the best, so he’s been wishing for one this Christmas.”
When Santa arrived in Market Square with his dream bike, Andrei was overjoyed. “I can’t believe it,” Andrei said with a smile. “I like biking a lot. This is really, really cool.” When asked what his favourite part about the new bike was, Andrei said, “The handle bar break…I’ve never had one before.”
Since his diagnosis, Andrei has become an active volunteer for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He has also participated in the Pedal for the Cure fundraiser, when he cycled for three hours.
“Cycling helps Andrei manage the diabetes by keeping him active. Help Fill a Dream is an incredible foundation and we’re so grateful for this gift,” said Browne. “We’re going to be very busy at the bike park now.”
Help Fill a Dream is an Island-based foundation that helps children with life-threatening conditions fulfill their dreams. The foundation relies solely on funds generated by the community. To make a donation or any enquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-382-3135.