Great Ride ‘n’ Stride to Beat Cancer extended into November

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This year’s Great Ride ‘n’ Stride in the Tillsonburg area started in early October and has been extended until the end of November.

Participants – with sponsor donations from the community – are walking or riding their own routes on their date of choice. Fundraising is being done online through the Canadian Cancer Society’s website (cancer.ca/greatridetillsonburg).

The transition from a one-day event in April, with a walk or ride around Lake Lisgar, to a ‘virtual’ two-month Ride ‘n’ Stride campaign changes everything. Participation is not limited to Tillsonburg and area – or any of the three other communities that annually host ride ‘n’ strides. Anyone in the province can raise funds for Ride ‘n’ Stride and participate in their own neighbourhoods.

Geographically, it’s a ‘Mega’ Great Ride ‘n’ Stride.

“It will be much like our Relay from Home and our CIBC Run for the Cure, it has been re-imagined,” said Hailey Parliament, Canadian Cancer fundraising specialist at the Oxford County community office. “It’s quite different from what we’re used to, for sure.”

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Blanford-Blenheim Township in Oxford County, Woolwich in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, and Burlington are also annual hosts to ride ‘n’ strides. This year, Tillsonburg is acting as the provincial host and funds raised in Ontario will be channelled through the Tillsonburg page.

“Throughout Ontario we’ll be seeing people getting involved and engaged,” said Parliament.

“We decided to open it up and encourage people who want to support the Canadian Cancer Society and the work that we do … that they have the ability to do so.”

Participants from the past three ride ‘n’ stride events in Tillsonburg have been contacted through email and a call campaign about this year’s changes.

“We let them know we’ve got something a little different up our sleeve.

“I think April is such a great time to typically be hosting it during Cancer Awareness Month, but it couldn’t happen this year. Unfortunately, cancer doesn’t stop during a global pandemic, so it’s still important to be raising those funds. We still want to be there for Canadians facing cancer during the pandemic, and of course well after it’s all over and things are back to normal, whenever that may be.”

The Great Ride ‘n’ Stride in Tillsonburg raised nearly $600,000 in its first 49 years leading up to last year’s 50th anniversary.

The fundraising target in 2020 is $7,000.

Tillsonburg’s Bill Pratt (519-842-4998), who has been involved with the local ride event since it started 51 years ago, and a Canadian Cancer Society volunteer for 60 of his 92 years, is collecting ‘off-line’ (in-person) donations in the Tillsonburg area.

Or drop off your donation at Trinkets Gift Shoppe, 149 Broadway, Tillsonburg.

Donations to Great Ride ‘n’ Stride can also be done by calling 1-888-939-3333.

cabbott@postmedia.com

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