Fundraiser in works for local bodybuilder – Brandon Sun
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Phillip Emmerson’s dream of going to Toronto to compete in a major wheelchair bodybuilding competition is one big step closer to becoming a reality.
Longtime friend Tracy Williams and former Wheat Kings hockey player Riley Day are holding a fundraiser May 10 to help Emmerson get to the event May 31 to June 2.
“He gives so much,” Williams said Wednesday. “I want his dreams to come true. There’s no one more deserving in Brandon, I think, than Phillip.”
Emmerson, 38, is a vocal advocate for people in Brandon with disabilities and sits on the board of Career Connections Inc., along with Day, who is also a friend.
Williams is executive director of Career Connections, which is not involved in the fundraiser.
Williams said she read an article in The Brandon Sun about Emmerson’s efforts to find sponsors to help him get to the competition and knew she had to help.
“He would give you the shirt off his back,” she said, added Emmerson, who was born with cerebral palsy, has endured some tough times to get to where he is today.
Emmerson told The Sun he was shunted to a dozen foster homes starting at the age of four after a far-from-perfect start to life at home.
“Amazing. Speechless,” Emmerson said Wednesday.
“Somebody believes in me, finally,” he said, adding he started off with $25 in a jar in his bedroom to help get him to the competition, if it ever happened.
As far as he knows, he’s the only one from Manitoba invited to compete in Wheelchair Bodybuilding Inc.’s (WCBB) amateur bodybuilding event.
If he wins, Emmerson will earn an International Federation of Body Builders Professional League card that will allow him to compete elsewhere.
After Toronto, his dream is to compete in the Arnold Classic, named for actor and champion bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger.
An educational assistant with the Brandon School Division, Emmerson has been bodybuilding for years.
He even designed and had built a special treadmill that allows him to stand while working out along with his weights and punching bag.
The Bud Spud fundraising dinner will be held Friday, May 10, at Houstons from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Tickets are $20 per person and include the meal and one beverage, either alcoholic or non-alcoholic. Minors are allowed until 9 p.m. if accompanied by a guardian.
For those who aren’t able to attend the fundraiser, but want to help anyway, $10 support tickets will also be available, Williams said.
“I’m pretty sure it’s going to sell out quickly,” she said, adding half the ticket price will go toward Emmerson’s trip.
As well, Williams said that Day has offered to cover the cost of Emmerson’s airfare. Day was unavailable Wednesday to comment on his involvement.
Emmerson estimates it will cost around $5,000 to go to Ontario to compete.
For tickets to the dinner, you can contact Williams at 204-724-2208 or Day at 204-729-9210.
» Twitter: @BudRobertson4