The Comox Valley team was tops in this year’s ride to support hospice.
This annual Vancouver Island cycling event, organized by Victoria Hospice Society, is now in its eighth year and involved riding teams and virtual riders from communities across the island. The participants rode to raise financial support for nine different hospice societies on Vancouver Island.
This year, the Comox Valley Cyclepaths topped the leader board, raising over $23,000 to help the Comox Valley Hospice Society (CVHS) support end-of-life care in the Comox Valley.
COVID-19 posed some challenges that initially led organizers to consider cancelling this year’s event. Instead, an innovative solution was found where rather than cycle teams meeting in Victoria to cycle a predesignated route, participants accumulated the kilometres in their own communities while checking off the destinations in an Island-wide scavenger hunt.
Virtual riders were also encouraged to participate.
For Comox Valley Cyclepaths team leader Raida Bolton, the motivation to fundraise was very personal. Her father had spent the last three-and-a-half weeks of his life in hospice at the Views. “The biggest thing I remember was how comfortable he was during his time there,” said Bolton. “But there were so many other things that stand out, simple little things that go such a long way.”
Raida convinced her good friend Margaret to ride on the Cyclepath team in 2019, which went on to raise over $40,000 for hospice care in the Comox Valley.
For the year 2020, the challenge was even greater. Her friend and teammate Margaret was diagnosed with cancer and died in May. Even with the restraints of COVID, the loss of her friend, and the financial impact on donations, Raida led the team to the top of the fundraising leader board, riding Margaret’s bike through the Comox Valley and talking to people about the importance and value of hospice care. The team raised just over $23,000 and is already collecting donations for the 2021 event.
“If you truly believe in why you are doing what you are doing, if you talk to people with honesty and integrity and feeling, and tell your ‘why,’ people really do want to help you help great organizations like Comox Valley Hospice,” said Bolton.
“It’s very moving to see the huge impact that even a small group of individuals can make to an organization and to a community,” said Jane Sterk, who recently joined CVHS as executive director. “We are very grateful for their commitment to hospice, and for the way that each team member is honouring the memory of those they continue to love.”
Donation to the Comox Valley Cyclepath team will continue to make a difference as they set their goals for 2021. It’s easy to donate to their efforts online at https://comoxhospice.com/cyclepaths/
For more information about hospice care in the Comox Valley, please visit comoxhospice.com.