UPDATED Sept. 21 at 9 a.m.
More than $44,000 was raised for Camp Quality Northern Ontario through the National Inside Ride Tour event, which took place at Tom Davies Square Sept. 18.
Any time Jean Hetu can help kids with cancer, he jumps at the opportunity. Seven years ago, Hetu's 13-year-old son, Johnathan, passed away from cancer.
That's how Hetu found himself on the seat of a stationary bicycle Sept. 18, pedalling furiously to the beat of loud dance music as other members of the Pacesetters team cheered him on.
Hetu was among about 200 people gathered at Tom Davies Square for the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation's National Inside Ride Tour event.
The tour is travelling across the country, raising funds for childhood cancer organizations. In Greater Sudbury, the money went to Camp Quality Northern Ontario, a camp for children with cancer. Organizers hoped to raise $25,000 for the camp.
“I like to help the kids,” Hetu, whose team rode in memory of his son, said. “It just gives me fulfillment. It gives me energy.”
While Hetu's son never attended Camp Quality, he said he can see how the organization helps kids like Johnathan. “The kids need a different setting from the hospital,” he said. “They want to have fun with other kids, and they don't want to be teased.”
Nineteen teams of six participated in the National Inside Ride Tour event. Each team member had a chance to ride the stationary bicycle for 10 minutes.
“It's a party in the middle of the day, and a friendly competition,” Jenn Davies, project co-ordinator for the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation, said.
“We have prizes for the team that rides the farthest. However, you don't have to be a cyclist to participate. We also have prizes for the best costume, the top team spirit and top fundraisers.”
Davies said her organization raises funds for childhood cancer organizations through events which involve cycling.
A group of cyclists affiliated with the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation is also in the middle of bicycling across the country.
Because of sponsorships, the organization is able to donate 100 per cent of the money they raise to childhood cancer organizations, Davies said.
Dennis St. Jacques, the director of Camp Quality Northern Ontario, said he was “very nervous” about taking a turn on the bike during the event, although he'd been “told there are no hills.”
“This is the first year we've participated in the Inside Ride tour,” he said. “I'm really excited. This a great event, and everybody's having a ball.”
For more information about the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation, visit www.ctcacf.org.
-Posted by Heidi Ulrichsen