Centennial Journalism students Bria John, Supt. Heinz Kuck, Eric Pember, Stephanie Bacchus and Ben Rappaport during interview at the Story Arts Centre in March, 2015.

Toronto police’s 11 Division superintendent planning his next charity challenge

From sled dogs in Northern Ontario to paddling Lake Ontario, Heinz Kuck keeps on giving back

A Toronto police officer, 11 Division Supt. Heinz Kuck, travelled over 250 kilometres this winter through Algonquin Park, in freezing temperatures, by dogsled to raise money for Victim Services Toronto, a charity helping those affected by crime and violence. This is more than twice the distance he travelled last year during his first dogsledding fundraiser.

“Part of it was the personal challenge, part of it was the fundraising,” Kuck said in an interview at Centennial College in March, when asked why he decided to travel more than double the distance he did the first time. “If I commit myself to an event that has connectivity to hardship, to somebody in danger…I think you do draw on people’s sympathy and appreciation.”

After completing his first dogsledding fundraiser, Kuck knew that if he was going to do the same type of challenge he did last year, he would have to ramp up the intensity.

“If you do the same fundraiser, the same capacity or distance or challenge, you don’t draw the hearts and minds of donors,” he said.

Kuck’s expedition definitely had connectivity to hardship. He and his team would travel up to 55 kilometres a day during below zero temperatures and in over a metre of snow.

“Where we would camp, three and four foot snow drifts, we would have to spend at least two hours every afternoon shovelling all that snow out for an imprint for a tent,” he said.

Technical problems added to the stress of the physical strain. On the sixth day, Kuck’s team was unable to receive a supply drop by train of food and dog shelter.

“We started eating only twice a day, the dogs reduced rations, and (with) no straw, we had to cut pine for two days,” he said.

Since Kuck was raising money for a charity which helps people affected by tragedies, putting himself in such a precarious situation added a symbolic meaning to his expedition.

“This is a charity for Victim Services Toronto…I have to look at the victims that they deal with and the victim’s families, and how I can myself endure a little bit of that empathetic, sympathetic pain,”

Kuck managed to raise just under $11,000, surpassing his goal, and is always up for raising money in new, challenging ways.

“The currency I want paid is the hearts and minds of making a difference, and that’s the direction that I go.”

Follow Supt. Kuck’s next fundraising efforts in the B and O Yorkville Run, in September 2015.