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GoodLife grant will help special needs kids learn to ride bikes

GoodLife kicks in $13,600 to bring iCan Bike Camp to Sudbury
On April 25, GoodLife Kids Foundation made a grant donation of $13,600 which will allow Children’s Treatment Centre (CTC) to host the iCan Bike Camp once again this year. (Matt Durnan/

NEO Kids & Family Program Children’s Treatment Centre (CTC) at Health Sciences North (HSN) is bringing the iCan Bike Camp to Greater Sudbury for its third year. 

This program allows individuals with disabilities to learn how to ride a bike. 

On April 25, GoodLife Kids Foundation made a grant donation of $13,600 which will allow CTC to host the iCan Bike Camp once again this year. 

The money was raised through GoodLife's Spin For Kids event, a fundraiser that impacts more than 250,000 kids across Canada.

"For us here in Sudbury it impacts kids through this iCan Bike Camp which is really great," said Paul Gonzales, general manager at GoodLife Sudbury's Southridge location.

"Our goal is to help break down barriers to help kids with special needs get active and we're really proud that we're able to do this." 

The iCan Bike Camp is a five day camp taking place from July 23 - July 27 at St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School, 2993 Algonquin Road in Sudbury.

With the direction of trained professionals and volunteers, participants will learn how to safely ride a conventional two-wheel bicycle. Participants will attend five 75-minute sessions which will provide them with the necessary confidence and skills to independently ride a bicycle by the end of the week. 

To date, 59 riders have attended the iCan Bike Camp in Greater Sudbury.

“We are very excited and grateful to receive the GoodLife Kids Foundation grant again this year to run the iCan Bike Camp for children with special needs,” said Nicole Graham, NEO Kids & Family Program Children’s Treatment Centre. 

“It’s a great program, teaching children how to ride a two-wheel bicycle independently. Last year, we had a 92 per cent rate meaning 92 per cent of the riders were able to ride their bike independently by the end of the week.”

To be eligible to enroll, riders must be at least eight years old, have a disability and be able to walk without an assistive device such as a walker or cane. Riders must also be able to side-step quickly to both sides, have a minimum inseam measurement of 20 inches and weigh no more than 220 pounds. 

Like many of these types of programs, the iCan Bike Camp relies heavily on the participation of volunteers. Each rider is assigned two volunteers who should be at least 16 years old and must be able to attend the camp each of the five days (approximately 90 minutes per session).

“Volunteering for the iCan Bike Camp has been extremely rewarding,” said Lindsay Boland, iCan Bike Camp volunteer. 

“It is great to see your young adults and kids succeeding on the bike as well as seeing all the other participants excel. It’s a team effort even though you are one on one with a participant everyone wants to see everyone succeed by the end of the week.”

Volunteers must also be able to run and lightly jog to help participants throughout the sessions. Interested volunteers and participants should email [email protected].

The cost of the camp is $100. 

For more information about the program, click here.