Amanda Lynn Mayhew-Hare wanted to go on a snowmobile ride with all her friends. Her enthusiasm for the motorsport and passion for fundraising started the annual Flurries Ride for MS, the second of which raised $2,500 on Feb. 12.
Encouraged by her friends and participants of her other charity event, a motorcycle ride and concert for progeria in June, the founder of the online magazine Fytness Fanatik began the winter fundraiser last year with sponsors Team Vincent Motorsports.
“I do a really good job of organizing events and the guys were like ‘why don’t we do something in the winter, so let’s get some sleds together and try this,’” Mayhew-Hare said.
Although marred by rain, the first flurries ride raised $1,500 for the Waterloo District MS Society, which serves those living with multiple sclerosis in Kitchener-Waterloo and surrounding areas, including Elmira. Sunny skies saw an increased turn-out for this year’s ride and accompanied 18 riders as they travelled 150 kilometres for the disease.
Ride captains Craig Hare and Dave Martin helped keep the large group safe across trails which the head of the Elmira Snowmobile Club, Garry Mayberry, called challenging at times.
“I enjoy the longer runs. It’s the first time I’ve ever gone in a group that large, so it was kind of a unique experience,” Mayberry said. “It got pretty blowy and there was a lot of drifting. It made it more challenging as the day went on.”
The executive director of the local chapter of the MS Society, Susan St. John, called the money raised by the riders an awesome gift.
“It’s an amazing amount of money. It will help us buy someone a power wheel chair,” she said.
The ride did double-duty for both Mayhew-Hare and St. John, promoting awareness for the cause in an active and healthy way.
“I try to allow people to have an arena where they talk about their illnesses and still try to find a way to have fun in life and have a good time and be active,” said Mayhew-Hare. “I love snowmobiles and motorcycles so I came up with a way to intertwine that into making people aware of health issues.”
St. John stressed the importance of exercise and activity for those living with MS and was excited to see an independent group promoting the cause in a healthy way.
“It’s especially heart-warming to see. We do a lot of our own fundraisers, but it’s wonderful when pockets of people take up the cause and decide to entertain themselves and their friends and support a charity in the effort,” she said.
At the ride’s conclusion spirits were high while fundraisers were awarded door prizes donated by local companies. Ride ambassador Jamie Fenton, a local resident living with MS, was also the day’s biggest fundraiser, taking in $925.
“Everyone ended up with a door prize. Jamie ended up with the grand prize, a trip for four to Buttermilk Falls resort,” Mayhew-Hare said, laughing at the enthusiasm and energy riders expressed when it was all over. “They were actually planning next year’s event. They were saying ‘next year we’re taking this way and we’re doing this.’”
Mayhew-Hare is already hard at work planning future events, including a motorcycle ride and concert for progeria, June 18.