Battle of the Tattoos: Canada’s Biggest Fundraisers Hash it Out in Support of the Special Olympics


How far would you be willing to go for a charity close to your heart? Real estate agent Darryl Reuter has over 20 years of fundraising experience, and in recent years he has pushed the envelope in daring ways to get people to support a good cause. In 2019, he promised to get a tattoo of a fire-breathing unicorn if his community helped him raise $10,000 for the Special Olympics.

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Through motionball’s 2019 Marathon of Sport, Darryl beat his goal and got a tattoo for the first time of a fire-breathing unicorn in honour of his team. He had never gotten a tattoo before, which made the fundraiser all the more enticing. 

This year, Darryl challenges Paul Etherington, close friend and co-founder of motionball, to raise $50 000 for the Challenge 21 event. Proceeds will be in support of the Special Olympics. However, whoever reaches this goal will have his name tattooed on the challenger’s back. If Darryl wins, Paul will have to get a tattoo of “Darryl”. And vice versa if Paul wins. 

Vanessa Butera, Content Writer, OnSide Media had the chance to hone in on the excitement and spoke to Darryl and Paul about this unique humanitarian initiative. 

Paul Etherington

If you have never gotten a tattoo before the unicorn piece, what made you decide to get one once you reached your fundraising goal?

Darryl Reuter I did not have a tattoo before that fundraiser. I always said “I would get a tattoo if it was something that was meaningful to meme”, and I never figured out what that would be. Our team every year for motionball is called “the Fire-Breathing Unicorn”. I wanted to do something cool that would get people to donate, and emphasize on the humour of it. For me, if I was covered in tattoos, it wouldn’t have made as much of an impact.

But everybody knew I didn’t have any tattoos, so to get a tattoo of a fire-breathing unicorn as my first an only piece was pretty impactful. I’m a bit of a jokester when it comes to this, and everyone picked up on it, like “oh, look at this guy, he’s going to get a unicorn tattoo and we’re going to help”. It worked out really well that way. I had a really good local tattoo artist step up, and we are now really good friends because of this. I just wanted to do something really big that year to make my mark.  

Darryl Reuter

OS: (Paul) what made you decide to get on board and accept Darryl’s fundraising challenge? 

Paul Etherington: I am truly blown away by Darryl’s passion and commitment towards motionball so any time he wants to initiate a friendly fundraising challenge count me in!


What is your humanitarian background?

DR: Long story short, I’ve been in real estate for 21 years, and when I first started, I had a really good friend who was diagnosed with ALS. I was asked if I could help run a charity event by the owners of my company, and we were able to run a charity event for him. We were able to buy a van for his family, so he was able to be more comfortable in his last few years of life. Since then, it sparked a passion and a skillset in me. I realized had the ability to get people involved for a cause that we could make an impact in.      

PE: At an early age, my parents demanded that my brothers and I give back to our community and as they were so involved in Special Olympics (my father received the Order of Canada for his work within the movement) we got to meet Special Olympics Athletes, their parents and coaches at an early age; and from there it didn’t take long for us to fall in love with the organization.

How did the idea of a fundraising challenge come about? What was the planning process like? 


DR: Just like in 2019, I wanted to make a mark again this year because we couldn’t have the event last year. So, I decided I wanted to create a big goal of $50,000. Paul has always been the #1 fundraiser in Canada at around $25-30 000. I said, “I want to beat Paul this year”. I said to him, “if I beat you, you have to get my name tattooed on you”. He said, ” perfect. If I beat you, then vice versa”. 

PE: Darryl and I went back and forth with some fun challenge ideas over the course of a few months back in the Spring. At one point we even discussed making the loser perform a 2-minute dance routine in front of a minimum 500+ audience (the style of dance also determined by the winner) but it was Darryl who eventually came up with the tattoo concept and it just stuck.

Both of you are impactful people in your professions and in the charities you support. How do you handle that impact while staying humble? 

DR: For me, that is important to me. I’ve built up a brand as someone who can be counted on if an organization needs help. I take a lot of pride in that. I can get involved in events and fundraising initiatives. I also have a pretty big network through my career. So, if I’m running an event or helping someone else out, I make those phone calls right away, and people know it will be something that will be impactful. The key for me is being able to get people on board. I definitely don’t take that lightly.     

PE: There are so many remarkable young Canadian professionals and University students who are doing amazing work within the motionball and Special Olympics organizations. I could run you a list of 50+ people that deserve recognition for the tireless hard work, leadership and passion that they direct towards our cause – Darryl and I are just 2 names on that list!  


Vanessa Butera
Author: Vanessa Butera, Content Writer, The Onside Media, Toronto, Canada. If you have stories to share kindly email: –
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