For organizers of the Woolwich Great Ride ‘n’ Stride, the arrival of some real spring weather would be a welcome way to encourage residents to walk, run, or cycle for the Canadian Cancer Society at the end of the month.
The Ride ‘n’ Stride is a pledge-based event that takes place across Ontario every year to raise money for the organization. Along with the event in Woolwich, the region is host to three other events in Waterloo, New Hamburg and Cambridge, said Woolwich Ride ‘n’ Stride chair Sarah Bradshaw.
Bradshaw, also chair of fundraising for the Waterloo Region unit of the Canadian Cancer Society, said the event has had a long history in the region. The Elmira-based event has been running for about 25 years, while the region has been involved for more than 30, organizers estimate.
“It’s amazing how long it’s been running,” she said.
Seeing a large variety of cancer survivors willing to share their stories with the public is an exciting prospect for organizers, added Bradshaw.
“Each year we try to have someone as a speaker who could talk about their fight against cancer. We’ve had really young children, we’ve had older people, and we’ve had a whole bunch of different ages. There have been people that have unfortunately lost that fight and that is really poignant and hard for us, but generally what’s great is how many people that have won the fight.”
Last year the Ride ‘n’ Stride attracted some 70 children and adults, raising a total of $11,150.75 in pledges for cancer research and support of local residents living with the disease. Since 2005, records show that the Woolwich affair has raised $104,000.
Organizers see a chance to improve on last year’s numbers this year despite some of the typical challenges facing such fundraising events.
“There are so many events now that compete not only for people’s dollars but also their time,” Bradshaw explained.
“People are busy and they want to support causes that mean a lot to them and so sometimes it’s challenging to get the word out and the participation that we would really like. But we have some loyal people that come out every year so they are sort of like our bedrock. We’d just like to attract some newer people.”
She said the goal is to attract at least 100 participants this year and encourage each to raise $200 in pledges.
The Great Ride ‘n’ Stride, taking place on April 29, allows participants to choose their healthy mode of transportation: walking, cycling or running either a 5- or 10-kilometre trek that starts at Elmira District Secondary School, follows along Arthur Street north to the Kissing Bridge Trail and along the trail to either Floradale Road or Side Road 18 at Wallenstein.
Opening ceremonies are at 12:45 p.m. at EDSS, with live music and refreshments at the Woolwich Memorial Centre after the treks. Participants can register and pledge at www.greatride.ca. For pledge forms and information contact Sarah Bradshaw at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519-669-2599.