The Comox Valley’s Cyclepaths team has a lot riding on this year’s Cycle of Life Tour.
Not only are they raising vital funds for end-of-life care here in the Valley, they also have a title to defend as last year’s top fundraising team, pedalling their way to $85,814 for Comox Valley Hospice Society (CVHS).
But while the riders are often passionate about the cause – supporting hospice care on the Island – the ride itself (and the friendly fundraising competition that goes with it) are all good fun, says Cyclepaths team lead Raida Bolton.
“It’s a really fun ride and a great celebration when we’re done. At the same time, many riders are cycling for someone in their lives who benefited from hospice care, so it’s very meaningful,” says Raida, who this year rides for her mom and former Cyclepath Margaret Lam.
Well known to many in the Valley, Margaret died three years ago, but her enthusiasm for the ride and the importance of hospice care lives on. “We honour her and ride in her memory,” Raida says.
While hosted by Victoria Hospice, all funds raised by local teams in the 10th annual Cycle of Life Tour stay in local communities to support hospice care in the team’s home. And those funds are essential: 70 per cent of the Comox Valley Hospice Society’s budget comes from donations and fundraising.
Beyond raising funds, the team’s community appearances also raise awareness. “A lot of people don’t know about hospice care or what it involves. They may know about Aitken Community Hospice in Courtenay (the six beds), but not that care can happen at home or in hospital, or that it can include grief counselling for family members or loved ones, and other supports from CVHS volunteers, including a variety of groups,” Raida says.
The team also hears from families whose loved one benefited from hospice care. “We hear a lot about how parents, siblings or partners were cared for by the CV Hospice Society and at Aitken Hospice and that they don’t know what they would have done without it.”
The work of Raida and all the “Cyclepaths” is vital to hospice care in the Valley, notes Christine Colbert, Executive Director of the Comox Valley Hospice Society. “Raida inspires the whole team and is tireless in her support for hospice,” she says.
Key to the team’s success is also the support from Courtenay Canadian Tire, not only as a sponsor, but with three riders joining the team, and even prompting other Island stores to get involved.
“They go above and beyond with everything they do to support us,” Colbert reflects. “I am absolutely blown away by this whole group – community has never felt so real.”
How you can help
While the ride is approaching quickly, you still have time to help the Cyclepaths reach their $60,000 fundraising goal.
- Aug. 15 – Beer and burger night at Match Eatery in Courtenay, featuring 50/50 draw, door prizes and silent auction. While the burger & beer tickets may be sold out, all are welcome to stop by, order off the regular menu, and take part in the draws and related events.
- Aug. 19 – Drop in by donation to a Fundraiser Fitcamp at Simms Park, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
- Anytime – Donate directly at the team page on the Cycle of Life website.
Learn more about Comox Valley Hospice at comoxhospice.com