After 236 kilometres of cycling, Colwood resident Graham Hales and his team Breaking Wind were able to raise $19,222 for Victoria Hospice as part of this year’s Cycle of Life Tour.
The July 16 and 17 event saw teams from across Vancouver Island raise funds for the Island’s nine hospice organizations. In all, $305,000 was raised in this year’s edition, Hale said in an email.
Riders had the choice of two different routes to complete over two days: a classic 156-kilometre route or a 236-kilometre enduro route.
“I chose the enduro route and let me tell you, that was the hardest ride I have ever done, and I have been riding bicycles for quite awhile,” Hales wrote. “Not just physically was it challenging, but mentally it was very draining. All the people that have died in my life are constantly going through my mind as I ride.”
With no plans to stop his fundraising efforts after riding the tour for fourth time, he said he would do it again in a heartbeat.
While the tour itself was the main fundraising event for Cycle of Life, it wasn’t the only way Breaking Wind collected donations. Since the spring, they have held several bottle drives and done a spinathon competition which saw Hales pedal a stationary bike for eight hours, competing against a rider in Courtenay to see who could pedal the longest.
Hales’ connection with Victoria Hospice led him to Cycle of Life in 2019. He lost a close friend to ALS the year before and discovered the event while searching for something he could put his energy into.
He has since made it his mission to raise awareness of the importance of hospice care and to fundraise however he can to ensure such care is available to whomever needs it.