Cycling For a Great Cause

(This blog post was originally written by Canuck Carl from his personal blog: theoldfellowgoesrunning.com)

The Tour For Kids is a registered Canadian charity that raise a source of funding for several incredible cancer camp organizations in Canada. Since 2004 Tour for Kids has raised and distributed for than $11 million to these amazing camps. They have assisted in establishing a camp at Sick Kids Hospital, rejuvenated the aging infrastructure of several overnight camps and improved the delivery of service. In the Ontario chapter there are Camp Ooch, Camp Quality, and Camp Trillium. (Info from Tour for Kids website.)

Kids at one of the camps called camp Trillium.

Kids at one of the camps called camp Trillium. Photo provided by Sharon Andres.

Since camp is free for all in need, Tour for Kids funding means children with cancer and their families can take a break from their stresses while enjoying a camp experience just like other kids.

Image from the Twitter feed of Tour For Kids

Image from the Twitter feed of Tour For Kids

Funding for these camp experiences for children with cancer come through bike tours where cyclists in order to participate are required to raise their own support. It is a big commitment. The Tour for Kids donation model is super unique. One part paid by the rider is registration fees to cover their cost of the tour. The 2nd part is the minimum fundraising required, and 100% of this goes towards the cancer camps.

Campers at Camp Ooch!

Campers at Camp Ooch! Photo provided by Sharon Andres.

Each year there are rides in Alberta, Atlantic Canada, and here in Ontario. In Ontario riders can choose routes that vary in distance and the time involved. It could be 1 day or for a full 3 days with distances up to 200k a day. The departure each morning and return later in the day is at the Georgian College summer suites.

Riders gathering before their morning send off on their various routes.

Riders gathering before their morning send off on their various routes. Photo provided by Sharon Andres.

Along the routes there are rest stops/aid stations, and for the 3rd time in 4 years the tour has come right through my home village of Hillsdale. And in each of these 3 visits it has been an honour to have the church grounds where I am lay pastor used in a very small way to be used as one of the locations of one of the rest stops. This year the Tour for Kids had 350 riders of which 275 would have ridden through Hillsdale.

A few of the 275 riders that came through Hillsdale.

A few of the 275 riders that came through Hillsdale.

The tour provides everything at these rest stops: food and refreshments, 1st aid, portable washroom facilities and even their own volunteers. I don’t even have to be there myself, but love spending some time there because of the so many inspirations I get from these riders.

When a lot of riders arrive at the same time these aid stations can get very busy. I find them very similar to the stations at the ultramarathons I run. During quieter moments I was able to chat with these friendly volunteers who were working at different locations all 3 days. Great volunteers like these four really make these events special.

When a lot of riders arrive at the same time these aid stations can get very busy. I find them very similar to the stations at the ultramarathons I run. During quieter moments I was able to chat with these friendly volunteers who were working at different locations all 3 days. Great volunteers like these four really make these events special.

Whether is a flat tire or a mechanical problem…no worries. The tour has their own mechanic on wheels to get you back on the road in no time!

Whether is a flat tire or a mechanical problem…no worries. The tour has their own mechanic on wheels to get you back on the road in no time!

Cyclists come from throughout Ontario, but some come further and some even from overseas. One gentleman named John came from Ireland. He read about it and decided to ride the tour as part of a Canadian vacation.

Had a wonderful chat with this kind man named John who came all the way from Ireland for the Tour for Kids.

Had a wonderful chat with this kind man named John who came all the way from Ireland for the Tour for Kids.

For many of these riders there is a story behind why they are doing this. They may know a child who is fighting cancer or has lost the battle to cancer. From the Tour for Kids website it mentions that there are 10,000 children living with cancer in Canada.

Definitely a story behind this banner.

Definitely a story behind this banner. Photo provided by Sharon Andres.

A few of the riders arriving at the aid station in Hillsdale.

A few of the riders arriving at the aid station in Hillsdale.

After a quick refreshment it was back on the road. Quickly took this gentleman’s picture before his friends who started out ahead of him got too far ahead.

After a quick refreshment it was back on the road. Quickly took this gentleman’s picture before his friends who started out ahead of him got too far ahead.

Much like my ultra races the riders came quickly into the aid station and then back out again. They were on a mission, and I definitely did not want to hold them back. To undertake either 100k, 160k or 200k a day for up to 3 days over very hilly countryside is a huge commitment. It takes a lot of training, and with hot muggy conditions that weekend, it would have taken much endurance, stamina and mental grit. I have so much admiration and respect for them.

Am looking forward to the next time our church grounds will be used for the Tour for Kids.

Am looking forward to the next time our church grounds will be used for the Tour for Kids.

For more information on the Tour for Kids please visit their website tourforkids.

Tour for Kids Facebook feed.

Tour for Kids Twitter feed.

Thanks for reading!