Thirty Vancouver Island grandmothers join together once again to cycle from Campbell River to Victoria to raise funds for African grandmothers who are faced with the unimaginable task of burying their own children and then raising their HIV/AIDS-orphaned grandchildren.
Joining the group this year from Sept. 7 to 9 are five Comox Valley residents representing the Merville Grand Mothers and the Glacier Grans in Comox — Sue Taylor, Monika Terfloth, Sally Gellard, Barb Fudge, and Jen Bowlby.
In five years, cycling Island grandmothers have raised over $200,000. This year the goal is to bring the total to $250,000, and every penny goes to the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign. Cyclists pay all their own expenses and all contributions go directly to the SLF.
In Courtenay, the group will stop for lunch provided by the Denman Island Grandmothers at Riverside Park across from the Filberg Centre.
The cycling event has a wonderful spirit of ubuntu — taking care of each other. Gellard, one of last year’s cyclists and returning in 2012, said, “This is much more than a bike ride. Heading south down our bountiful Island, we are met along the way with cheers, chocolates and refreshments provided by several community SLF Grandmother groups.
“There is a strong spirit of solidarity, not only with each other but especially with the Grandmothers of Africa. That’s who I think of as we climb those gut-wrenching hills.”
The Stephen Lewis Foundation provides funding for over 300 community projects in 15 sub-Saharan African countries. Canadian grandmothers coast to coast have contributed more than $13.5 million to this campaign in only six years. ($1 for every AIDS orphan in Africa.)
There is truly a groundswell of Canadian grandmother power across this country for the African grandmothers who are holding together whole communities, demonstrating courage and energy in extreme conditions. In some African countries, 40 to 60 per cent of orphans live in grandmother-headed households.
After 275 kilometres of cycling, a welcome celebration takes place on Grandparents Day, Sept. 9, at 3 p.m. at St. John the Divine Church in Victoria.
To learn more, or to donate to the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, visit http:bit.ly/VG4Acycle<>. You can donate in the name of an individual grandmother cyclist by clicking on her name on the scroll.
For further information, leave a message for Monika at 250-337-5671.
— Grandmothers to Grandmothers