For her fourth year in a row retired Langford resident Sharon MacDonald is taking her bike to the pavement to prove the care that exists for sick children in her community.
She is one of 76 local cyclists taking part in this year’s Great Cycle Challenge Canada, whose 16,088 cyclists across Canada have ridden a collective 15.4 million kilometres and raised $21.7 million for Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) care and research practises since 2016.
“We’ve seen in our community, all the time, that there’s too much cancer,” MacDonald said.
In 1960, her sister succumbed to a brain tumour at the age of 10 – years before the diagnostic technology being funded through this year’s cycle challenge was available in hospitals.
“There’s nothing I can do for my sister … but I can ride my bike, raise some funds that give support to Sick Kids Foundation, and let all the kids that are fighting their little battles know that there are people out there that really care and wish the best for them,” MacDonald said.
“Cancer is the largest killer of Canadian children from disease,” being diagnosed in over 14,000 children annually, said Jamie Lamont, director of special events at the SickKids Foundation.
“Thanks to riders like Sharon, we’re fueling groundbreaking research to save lives and give kids the brighter future they deserve.”
The lifelong Langford resident and avid runner hopes to raise $2,500 after cycling at least 800 kilometres throughout the month of August – a laborious task, she said, but far from impossible. Over the last three years, MacDonald said, she’s ridden over 2,600 kilometres (averaging over 860 kilometres per Cycle Challenge) and raised $5,248 for the foundation.
She stressed that her efforts are not singular, either.
“It’s not me. We’re a force across Canada,” she said. Fifteen cycling chapters exist across Greater Victoria and Vancouver Island. Bumper stickers, face masks and specialty donuts are some of the products sold across the country in other cyclists’ efforts to promote the event.
“There’s one fella that unicycles everywhere and stops at different places to promote (the challenge),” MacDonald said.
“Even as August comes along, there’ll be more people that will jump on board and support … it blows my mind the amount of creativity that they do to fundraise.”
Donations can be made out to MacDonald or other riders at greatcyclechallenge.ca/Riders/SharonMacDonald.
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