The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Waterloo Region office is looking for some big bike riders – not large cyclists, but people interested in raising funds and pedaling the 29-seat Big Bike.
The Big Bike is an annual fundraiser that takes place across Canada. Last year 40,000 riders pedaled in more than 200 communities and raised $7 million for heart and stroke research.
Heart and stroke disease has been steadily declining over the past 40 years – down 70 per cent between 1956 and 2002 – but it’s still the leading cause of death in Canada. In 2005, cardiovascular disease accounted for 31 per cent of deaths nationally, according to Statistics Canada.
Courtney Gies, coordinator for the event in Waterloo Region, said the office is aiming for 90 teams in Waterloo Region this year, up from 81 last year. This is the eighth year teams from the region have taken part in the event.
They’re asking that each team raise at least $1,500, although there’s no maximum; Gies noted that some teams raise as much as $12,000 or $13,000.
Last year the Big Bike raised $230,000 in the region. The money raised stays within Waterloo Region, going toward research and health promotion and advocacy.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation is currently funding four research projects at the University of Waterloo:
Dr. James Rush’s investigation into chemical factors and inflammation as it relates to high blood pressure and exercise;
Dr. Robert Hegele’s examination of gene mapping to learn about the pathways and enzymes involved in high blood pressure;
Dr. Eric Roy’s research into apraxia, the inability to carry out motor movements, caused by stroke;
Dr. David Spafford’s structure-function analyses of drug interactions with L-type calcium channels.
On the day of the event, each 29-member team, along with a driver from the foundation, will pedal the Big Bike along a two- or three-kilometre route. Rides will be hosted by restaurants that will provide heart-healthy snacks and drinks.
This year rides will be taking place on May 28, June 7,8,10,11,15,16 and 17. There are no rides in Woolwich, but there are two leaving from Waterloo: one from Boston Pizza on King Street North, and one from East Side Marios on King Street.
For more information or to register a team, contact Gies at 519-571-9600 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.