A group of actors, musicians and comedians are hoping to give two Saskatoon teens a once-in-a-lifetime experience this summer.
Heather Otterbein, 17, and Sean Otterbein, 19, both have autism spectrum disorder.
Juno-award winning musician Brian Byrne is leading the show. He'll be accompanied by performers from the No-Nos, the Seahags and the Saskatoon Soaps in a variety show Saturday, May 11, at the Broadway Theatre. Doors open at 7 pm. The show starts at 8.
All money raised will send both Otterbein siblings to a therapeutic surf camp in Halifax.
"I was excited because I've never been surfing before," said Heather Otterbein. She said and her brother have never been to Halifax before. "The water might be really cold."
"It looks fun," said Sean Otterbein.
Improv actor Max Bembridge is one of the performers who'll be taking the stage. He recently met the Otterbeins through his brother.
"They were the perfect fit for what the cause is all about, helping kids get through hard times in life. Using it as a healing camp," said Bembridge. "
It costs $10,000 for a family of four to attend the surf camp. Bembridge says the group is "close" to raising that right now. Tickets cost $25 at the door.
The variety night is the brainchild of Byrne, the lead singer for the band I Mother Earth. Together with other performers, he formed the OCD Collective, a group that raises money to help children and teens who suffer from autism.
Until recently, the Otterbein teens' mother, Diane, was a vocal advocate for disabled people in Saskatchewan.
She died of pancreatitis in December, leaving her husband to care for both teenagers. The couple also have two adult daughters.
Alan Otterbein is the childrens' father. A friend approached him with the surf camp idea shortly after his wife died.
"At first I really didn't think much about it. We were busy with other things," said Otterbein. He had to change jobs in order to stay closer to home, to care for his two youngest children this year. As the show approaches, he says it's amazing to feel such support from people in his community.
"It makes you appreciate humanity a little bit," said Otterbein. "The support we've seen in the past eight months has been incredible. To see it snowball into something like this that you could never have imagined happening, is just great to see."
Otterbein says his children never dreamed of surfing before. However, he says his children have benefitted from attending horseback riding sessions.
"They always come out of that a lot more in tune with themselves," said Otterbein. "They're a lot calmer, they're more responsive. You can see a difference in them."
"I think they'll get some of those same benefits."