SACKVILLE: Whether it’s dressing as Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation, donning a tutu, or eating a habanero pepper, Antigonish native Eric Anstey goes to some hilarious ends in the name of charity.
When asked why he participates in these situations, Anstey says it’s all about his cousin, Rylee Sears. Since 2016, Anstey participated in the “12 Dares of Christmas,” where he accepts dares from the public to collect donations for the Rylee Sears Scholarship Fund.
Sears passed away in 2015 at the age of 16 after contracting meningitis.
Other dares along the way included singing carols dressed as an elf, chugging milk, and cutting down a Christmas tree in a bikini.
“When we came up with the idea, the reason for continuing to do it is to continue to raise money in his name and donate it to the scholarship fund in the hopes that other young people will be able to use it to their advantage,” said Anstey. “[Sears] was a great young kid. He’s missed and loved and hopefully, at least once a year, people take a minute and think about him.”
Anstey says the 12 Dares events in the last three years raised around $15,000 for the scholarship. He says it’s possible next year might be the last year for the dares but he isn’t sure at this point.
“You can’t help but feel a little bit of pride in the sense that you get to do it in the name of a fantastic young man,” he said. “It’s a bit surprising. When it all started, I thought there would be me and my buddies sitting around watching videos of me doing foolish things with the hopes that I would raise $500 to $1,000. We’ve far exceeded that amount so we’re pretty pleased that it’s done as well as it has.
“I tip my hat to all the people that are supporting it and have supporting it since we started with donations and dare ideas, views and shares [on social media] that help get the word out there and allow us to keep raising money,” he added.
Anstey is about mid-way through this year’s edition of the 12 dares. For more information on the dares or how to donate, please visit the 12 Dares of Christmas page on Facebook.