Fundraiser in honor of missing kayaker Bend to raise money for Rwandan children
The event is Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Silver Moon Brewing
(Update: added video, comments from fundraiser organizer, details)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A fundraiser in honor of Alex Kollar, the kayaker from Bend who disappeared on the Deschutes River a few months ago, will take place this Friday, raising money for a cause he cares about to heart.
Sara Pascal, a friend and former colleague of Alex, organized the fundraiser.
“Alex – no matter the size of the meet, he just made you feel really special and seen,” Pascal said on Wednesday.
When Pascal heard the news from Kollar, she found it hard to believe him.
“To have someone who is so full of life, it’s hard to fathom the slightest possibility that they can’t be here anymore,” Pascal said.
Pascal says she first met Kollar while working with him at the Mt. Bachelor rental store in 2015.
She immediately noticed his infectious smile and bright personality.
“His enthusiasm was so wonderful to be with him,” Pascal said.
She said Kollar loved going out into the wild and that his friends would describe him as “the ultimate man”.
“I’ve always had so much fun going out in the backcountry, mountain biking, kayaking, hang gliding, all of that,” Kollar said.
Losing his brother, Phillip, in a car accident when he was young, made him appreciate the life around him.
“So Alex really understood the fragility of life and really understood how precious it was,” Pascal said.
Kollar’s appreciation took another leap in 2011.
“I think something changed Alex – when he went to Rwanda,” Kollar said.
During Kollar’s travels in Rwanda, he was blown away by the lack of resources of the people and he left with a greater appreciation for the food, the environment and the people.
In her memory, Kollar’s mother created a GoFundMe account and a page in her name for the Kefa Project, which will purchase land and equipment in Rwanda, and help teach locals how to grow and grow food in a sustainable manner.
Pascal has organized a series of fundraising events, including silent auctions and raffles.
“And I want to help Alex,” Pascal said. “Alex wanted to help my future kids, you know – he wanted to make Bend a better place, the world a better place. And I feel like the least I can do is try to raise some awareness about his GoFundMe and make Alex’s dream come true, especially for these Rwandans.
The next fundraiser is Friday at Silver Moon Brewing, and Pascal knows that if Kollar could be there, he would be having as good a time as anyone.
“I think he would dance and smile and want to give everyone a giant hug and he would love to just give high fives and, just a straight hit – yeah a straight hit,” Pascal said.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to NewsChannel 21 on Wednesday that it had used drones, water rescue teams and all possible resources, but still had not found Kollars’ body.
Friday’s fundraiser will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., with $ 1 from each beer purchase going to the Alex Kollar Memorial Fundraiser.
Raffles and auctions will feature artwork, clothing and other promotional items from local businesses.
Pascal said she would like to thank the following companies and groups for their donation or sponsorship:
Photograph by Pete Alport
Jesse Polay Photography
Climbing Pointe Rouge
Jonny Sischo with Oregrown and Tiny Shed Wood Goods
Out in Bend
HydroFlask via Kyla Zager
Silver Moon Brewery
Cardiff snow series
Bend Rock Gym
Ghost snow industries
Rhinoskins Skin Solutions
Photograph by Jon Tapper
Saucefly via Sara Rose
Ikorabit Art via Megan Stumpfig
Folding film via Todd Looby
Photograph by Colton Jacobs
Seams Like Sunshine via Becky McCoy
Niche Snowboards via Kelli Whittman
Photogtaphy Christian Murillo
Rwanda Bags Handcrafted by Kefa Womens Co-op
Light my fire
Ladies all ride
Freds Hot Sauce
Tumalo Creek and kayak
The Kéfa project
Alex Kollar Media via Ruthanne Adams