That’s a wrap for Tour for Kids! Finishing off with Tour for Kids: Niagara was a mighty way to end. Raising $650k, it obliterated last year’s participant and fundraising records! What a successful Tour for Kids season!
On Friday, everyone came together for the event kick-off! Cycling our first routes with beautiful scenery, enjoyed a delicious lunch of turkey burgers and sausages from Turkey Farmers of Ontario, sponsored by Bernstein Diet and Health Clinics, and lemonade provided by Tamara’s Lemonade Stand. Our rest stops were themed with fairies and magic to keep the riders going, with an appearance by Reed – one of our incredible ambassadors from Camp Trillium. It was an incredible way to start of the event!
Bacon-Palooza Day (also known as Saturday) was just as amazing. Our delicious lunch of tuna pasta salad and salmon burgers, was generously sponsored by Clover Leaf. At night, our dinner was entirely made of bacon! It was a delicious way to fill everyone’s stomach after a long day of riding. What happened after was nothing short of entertaining! With a talent show, jousting, a dunk-tank, and the outstanding band: Sticks ‘n Tones – it was a fun-filled evening had by all!
Finally, Sunday – our Canadian themed day, a day where everyone sported their favourite Canadian sports teams, and dressed like it was Canada Day! This was our shortened ride of the three days, and it ended off on a celebratory note with a BBQ for everyone to come together to share their accomplishments.
A HUGE thank you to our incredible volunteers, without whom this would not be possible. To our presenting sponsor: Investors Group, thank you for your continuous support – we cannot accomplish what we do without you.
The countdown is on for next year!
Save the date for Tour For Kids, Peterborough 2019: August 16-18th, 2019
Here are a few words from our ambassadors… the very children you impact!
“August 28, 2018
To all the Coast to Coast riders,
I was asked to do a speech for Tour for Kids at Brock University. I was very honored to tell my story to an amazing group of people who support an organization very dear to my heart. You have all contributed in many ways to help raise awareness and money for kids that have been affected with cancer and as such your support has helped fund programs such as Camp Ooch, this warms my heart knowing that people care and give their own time to support this great cause. Camp Ooch gave me the strength to push through my own personal battle with cancer, not just once but twice and I know it will continue to help other kids just like me.
To all the cyclists who have supported Camp Ooch and other camps for kids with cancer at this event I thank you from the bottom of my heart! Without you, there would be no camp. There would be no place for kids like me to just “BE” in a safe, fun, exciting environment that allows us to just forget for that short period of time the battles we face. It allows us to come together and share or not share what we are feeling and the hurdles we face every day, and we get to do that while having FUN!
It was amazing getting to meet each one of you, I felt truly blessed to have been part of this event. When I started to tell my story and looked to the many riders who were there to show their support I had a big smile on my face. Seeing how hard you all have worked for this is just inspiring. You all inspire me to go on fighting, and with your support I will continue to be a small voice for all the kids that face dark days. You are the reason that kids like me get to have that amazing feeling of being a kid no matter what their circumstances. You are the reason that us kids have a place to be fully ourselves, without hiding. God bless each and everyone one of you. This world is lucky to have people like you.
Thank you again for all your ongoing support!
Reed & Family:
“For our family, our experience with Camp Trillium started long before we arrived at Rainbow Lake. During our initial stages of treatment, friendly volunteers would stop by our hospital room to see if they could do something with our son Reed. It could be playing a game, watching a favorite show, or doing a craft and allowing mom and dad to eat a quick meal or sit down for a coffee. We soon learned that these people in the green vests were from Camp Trillium.
One particular day, Tyler came to our room and asked if he could do a craft with Reed. That day, they would be painting a Spiderman sun catcher. Now you have to remember that Reed was only 3 at the time…he still had not mastered colouring on a page let alone staying in the lines! Reed ended up getting paint on the hospital bed sheets. My wife and I were feeling bad, but Tyler put everyone at ease when, not to be out done, he added to Reed’s bed sheet masterpiece! By the time the craft was finished, Tyler and Reed had more paint on the sheets than on the sun catcher itself! We all had a good laugh when Tyler whispered to Reed that he wasn’t to tell anyone about painting the bed sheets, it would be their secret! Over time, Tyler started to tell us about this great place where children and families could go and the kids could just be kids. We were hesitant at first. Reed was so young and the thought of going to Camp with little to no immune system terrified us. Tyler gently prompted us to just fill out the paperwork, at least it would be done if we changed our minds.
Finally, after our first year of treatment, we decided that we would give it a try, and were given the opportunity to attend Family Camp. For us, it was emotional turning into Camp Trillium. The sign read “Until there is a cure, there is Camp.” People in crazy costumes greeted us and cheered us on at every turn. We parked our car by the body shop and were greeted by Taylor, Reed’s Special Friend. You have to keep in mind that Reed is our only child, he was always cautious around strangers preferring to stay close to mom and dad, and that was before his diagnosis at 22 months of age. After his diagnosis, he was confronted with too many necessary “strangers”, the ones that poked him with needles, the ones that gave him medicine that made him sick and lose his hair, the ones who operated on him, the ones who had to swab him, the ones who put feeding tubes in etc. As you could imagine, Reed was not very fond of strangers! Taylor introduced herself and got down to Reed’s level and started to talk to him. Within minutes of arriving at Rainbow Lake, my wife and I watched in amazement as Reed walked hand in hand with Taylor towards the playground…walking hand in hand with a new friend towards the playground and away from mom and dad no longer totally relying on them for comfort.
Within these first few minutes of arriving we realized what a special place Camp Trillium is. Over and over that week would prove to be special. It was the first time in over a year (since Reed’s diagnosis) that my wife and I were able to let our breath out, let our guard down, and just relax. We were in a safe place where people “get it”. It was the first time we sat down and had nothing to do but read a book. It was where our family started to heal. To be around families and talk to other parents who had been down a similar road made us realize that we weren’t the only ones feeling what we felt. To see kids who had completed treatment looking so healthy and active gave us hope. To see Reed have the opportunity to just be a kid meant everything to us. The childhood stolen from him was given back, if only for a week. This gift of childhood is such a special gift to families and children affected by cancer.
I could go on with more examples from that week, but what I really wanted to do is say thank you and let you know that what you are doing makes a real difference for children and their families. Of all of the decisions that we had to make during the course of Reed’s treatment, I can honestly say that the decision not to go to Camp Trillium sooner is one of our biggest regrets.
Brett, Lucy and Reed”
Finally, click here for the video of Illyria‘s speech at the event!