Help this Richmond mom embark on a dog sled trip in the Scandinavian arctic

A Richmond woman with a dream of embarking on a Scandinavian dog sled adventure is appealing to the public to help her get there.

Earlier this month, Irene Yu, who has lived in Richmond for nearly 30 years, heard of the Fjällräven Polar contest, which sends 20 adventurers from around the world on a week-long dog-sled trip in the Scandinavian arctic.

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“It’s something that really intrigued me,” Yu told the Richmond News. “I really couldn’t get it out of my head.”

Anyone over the age of 18 was eligible to apply for the all-expenses-paid expedition and 10 contestants will be picked based on the number of votes they gather from social media. The other 10 will be picked by a jury.

For Yu, the adventure would be a completely new opportunity for her, as the mother of two says she never really got interested in outdoor activities until she was in her 20s.

“I really like being outdoors and being in nature has done a lot for me,” she said.

“It’s also something that I miss a little bit since becoming a mom three years ago. It’s a lot more work getting outdoors with the kids and the expectations have to be different going with kids.”

In her campaign to get votes, Yu said she tried to think of a way to give back to the community.

“I kind of figured that if I’m going to approach strangers and try and get them to vote for me, why would they,” she said. “Can there be a little bit of good that comes out of this campaign?”

With that, Yu picked a charity to support that is dear to her: The Pacific Post-Partum Support Society, an organization that offers support, workshops and resources for new parents.

“It’s been three-and-a-half years since I became a mom and there are still things that I’m just beginning to settle into. It has taken that long. And that’s surprising to me because I’m usually a person who learns very quickly in all other aspects of life,” she said.

“I think it wasn’t until I became a mom and experienced it for myself that this whole topic of how serious depression can be and how prevalent it could be and how easily it could happen to anyone, it really hit me.”

Yu said she will donate at least $100 to the PPPSS, with additional donations depending on the number of votes she get. For example, if she receives 5000 votes, Yu has pledged to donate $1000.

Yu added that she’s had support from her family to pursue this competition, and that she’s already seen benefits.

“What this campaign has gotten me to do…is schedule some time for myself,” she said, adding that encourages parents to find something “just for them.”

“I think it’s so easy for moms to get tunnel vision. They’re so focused on kids,” she said.

Yu has until Dec. 13 to get the most votes in North America and secure a spot. To learn more about her campaign or cast a vote, visit Yu’s website.

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