Manitoba

Former Winnipeg Blue Bomber plans to get vaccinated in wedding dress for a good cause

John Rush said he knew he wanted to do something special for his May 31 vaccine appointment. After seeing other examples of people raising money by pledging to get vaccinated in costume, he set up a GoFundMe campaign and asked people to vote on what he should wear: a tuxedo or a wedding dress. 

John Rush has raised more than $5K for the Rainbow Resource Centre ahead of May 31 appointment

John Rush, centre, celebrates during a 2017 game against the B.C. Lions in Winnipeg. Rush is wearing a wedding dress to his vaccine appointment this month to raise money for Rainbow Resource Centre ahead of Pride month. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

A former Winnipeg Blue Bomber will be tackling his first vaccine shot while wearing a wedding dress, all to raise money for the Rainbow Resource Centre — and at the same time challenging gender stereotypes. 

John Rush said he knew he wanted to do something special for his vaccine appointment on May 31. 

After seeing other examples of people raising money by pledging to get vaccinated in costume, he decided to set up a GoFundMe campaign and asked people to vote on what he should wear: a tuxedo or a wedding dress. 

Once the votes were tallied, the winner was a wedding dress. 

As a cisgender, white, heterosexual male, Rush said he hopes wearing a wedding dress will send a message that people should be able to wear whatever they want, regardless of gender, without fear of being judged or worse. 

"As a straight white male in our society, I'm afforded a significant amount of privilege, and I'm just trying to use some of that privilege to further the narrative and allow people to live their lives without having to be singled out … or feel ostracized because of what they wear," he said during a Wednesday interview with CBC Radio's Up To Speed.

"I just want people to be more accepting, more loving, because that's the way we should live in our world, right? We should all be striving to make a society better and safer for all." 

Rush with his dog Bon Homme. His campaign has already raised more than $5,600 for the Rainbow Resource Centre. 'We should all be striving to make a society better and safer for all,' he says. (Submitted by John Rush)

As of Wednesday evening, Rush's GoFundMe campaign had raised more than $5,600 for Winnipeg's Rainbow Resource Centre — an organization that offers support services of the LGBT community — already surpassing his initial goal by a few hundred dollars. 

"The reaction so far has been pretty for the most part, pretty amazing," he said.

The challenge now? Rush still needs to find a dress that will fit his footballer frame. 

Costumes bring cheer at vaccine sites 

At least one health official is a fan of the idea of dressing up for your shot. 

Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead Manitoba's vaccine task force, said she has been happy to hear stories from people working at the province's vaccine clinics about people arriving in prom dresses or costumes to get their vaccine. 

For example, one person dressed up as Fred Flintstone to get their shot, she said. 

"These people just really bring a sense of joy and fun to the work our teams are doing at the clinics," she said at a Wednesday news conference.

"So thank you for bringing that when so many of us are feeling so tired from this pandemic."

If you do decide to dress up, just make sure you wear something sleeveless or short-sleeved so the immunization teams can access your arms, she said. 

"A Fred Flintstone costume is a great example of something that is short-sleeved. So, feel free to dress up as Fred Flintstone."

With files from Kate Schellenberg

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