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Support Strong For Injured Driver

Published: March 29, 2015 9:11 pm ET

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On the heels of a successful fundraising benefit, injured horseman Jim Marino has been overwhelmed by the support that the horse racing community has shown him over the past two months.

After Marino was sidelined with extensive injuries to his leg and wrist from a racing accident on January 23 at Fraser Downs, friends began a fundraising campaign to assist the Surrey, B.C. horseman who was expected to be out of action for five months. The horse racing community has raised approximately $13,000 to assist Marino in his recovery and organizers are hoping to push that total over the $20,000 mark with the sale of 750 raffle draw tickets by the end of the month.

The fundraising events have included a sold out "Burger and Beer Night" with 140 people packing the Samz Neighbourhood Pub in Surrey on March 1. Funds were raised through a portion of ticket sales, games and a silent auction. An additional silent auction was held at Fraser Downs during the weekend of February 20-22.

"We have had some amazing donations from horsemen and drivers, local establishments, and Fraser Downs, who donated four sets of colours that they had in storage," said Marino's longtime friend and riding partner Lexie McLaren O'Neill, who has assisted organizing the events.

The auctions together featured 80 donated items, including the driving suits of George Brennan, Mike Lachance and Cat Manzi; autographed whips from John Campbell, Ron Pierce and Yannick Gingras; and breedings to stallions Blue Burner and Living It Up.

In addition, Harness Racing B.C. raised $1,200 with a donation box in their office and other monetary donations have been coming in for Marino through a Go Fund Me account set up by O'Neill.

Meanwhile, the raffle ticket sales continue throughout the month of March for $10 each for a chance to win a 49" LG TV (or $650 Costco spending card), a Northview Golf & Country Club package that includes green fees for four plus a $100 gift certificate and a brand new set of golf clubs, and an exciting River Rock Casino Resort package including suite and meals. The draw for the three prizes will be held on April 5.

"A huge thank you for all the help collecting donations all over Langley and Surrey and all businesses, especially Samz Pub for helping us make our pub night a huge success and also donating the 49" TV for our raffle," said O'Neill. "None of this would have been successful without the help from the lovely ladies of Fraser Downs: Stephanie Leak and Emily Leak, Jim's mom Barb Landers, Kelly Hudon and Cindy Burke. Without these ladies collecting donations and spreading the word of the fundraisers, they would not have been as successful.

"Jim is so appreciative of all the love and support that we have shown him over the past month...I'm glad that we are able to help him through this hard time and get Jim back on both feet again -- most importantly to get him back on the race bike or back in his western saddle."

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