The Maison Vale Hospice fundraiser, which starts Aug. 19 at 10 a.m. at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine on Laurentian University's campus, includes both a motorcycle rally around Greater Sudbury and a bicycle tour circling Ramsey Lake.
“It's a lot of fun,” Leo Therrien, the hospice's executive director, said.
“No matter the weather, we're going to to bike. Every year we get more motorcycles, and we're hoping to get more bicycles that will join this year. We'll see what happens on Sunday.”
Therrien himself plans to participate in the bicycle tour, which he said takes one to two hours, depending on a cyclist's fitness level.
The event is supported by the Sudbury branch of the Canadian Motorcycle Cruisers. During the morning of Aug. 17, the motorcycle club got a head start in their Wheels for Hospice fundraising efforts.
Mark Banfich, an electrician at Vale and the first officer with the Canadian Motorcycle Cruisers' Sudbury branch, arranged for a donation toll to take place at the entrances to the company's local operations.
Vale employees and contractors alike, some driving large transport trucks, dropped cash and coins into motorcycle boots held out by the motorcycle club members.
“I'm lovin' it,” he said. “People are very nice and very supportive ... Last year we raised just over $3,500. With our members' contributions, we were able to donate just over $7,000 to the hospice. We're hoping to do better than that this year.”
Vale spokesperson Danica Pagnutti said the company is happy to help out.
“The hospice is a cause that's near and dear to our hearts,” she said. “We're proud of our employees who took the initiative to start this toll booth and all of the support they're giving to the hospice.”
Wheels for Hospice, which raised $21,000 last year, is the hospice's second biggest fundraiser, Therrien said. He said he hopes to raise $25,000 through the event this year.
Therrien praised the Canadian Motorcycle Club for organizing the donation toll and Vale for allowing the fundraising initiative to take place on their property.
He said he's hoping more more than 100 motorcyclists and at least 25 cyclists will participate in Wheels for Hospice. Participants are asked to raise at least $25 each to participate.
The event is family friendly, he said.
“We're going to be having little games for kids and biking around Laurentian University,” Therrien said.
For more information about Wheels for Hospice, email [email protected], phone 705-674-9252 or visit www.maisonsudburyhospice.org.