Riders and volunteers contribute to eastern Ontario’s most successful single-day cancer fundraiser
By Tracey Tong
Special to Ottawa Construction News
Spring – and bike season – is upon us, and registrations are quickly ramping up for the fifth edition of eastern Ontario’s most successful single-day cancer fundraiser.
With more than 700 riders currently registered – and certainly more to come, Ride the Rideau is looking to hold its biggest and most successful event yet on Saturday, Sept. 6.
Ride the Rideau would not be possible without its army of volunteers, who do everything from check rider gear, ensure safety on the route and serve refreshments along the way.
More than 350 volunteers, some of them groups from businesses and corporations, families and individuals, donate their time to Ride the Rideau every year.
For Valecraft Homes Ltd. president Jean-Guy Rivard, Ride the Rideau is a great way to make a difference. He and his employees have had the opportunity to tour The Ottawa Hospital, so they understand that “cancer research is very, very important,” said Rivard.
Although he doesn’t cycle, he’s one of the ride’s most eager volunteers. Last year, he and Terry Stansel volunteered at the finish line, where they handed out medals and welcomed their team, The Valecraft Velocity, as they crossed the finish line.
“I am so proud of them,” said Rivard of his team. He’s back as a volunteer in 2014: “I’ll work anywhere I’m needed,” he said.
Stansel echoed his sentiments. “It was a fantastic experience,” she said. “We were so excited to be there as volunteers.”
Rivard is so dedicated to building his team and the ride that last year, he sponsored each rider on his team $500. He will be doing the same this year.
Other companies aboard the volunteer train include Ride the Rideau’s title sponsor, Mattamy Homes.
In addition to having a team, Mattamy will also be supporting a pit stop, where their own crew of volunteers will ensure that riders are refueled and ready to hit the road again. Mattamy’s support of this event comes right from the top – the company’s Vice-President Sales and Marketing Michael Winiarz will be part of Mattamy Homes’ volunteer contingent.
Many of Ride the Rideau’s largest teams also have volunteer groups. Team Tomlinson not only has their Red Army on wheels, but are back again to lend operational support through the Tomlinson motorcycle patrol led by Eric Armstrong.
Boone Plumbing and Heating’s Boone Flushers, led by the company’s vice-president Claude Des Rosiers, are planning on holding their fourth annual mid-summer party, Rock the Rideau, at the Lemieux Street Lone Star on Thursday, July 17. The event, which features a performance by Ambush, is organized by volunteer Kathy Houle.
“The Ottawa Hospital Foundation is so grateful to its volunteers, which make the success of Ride the Rideau possible,” said Tim Kluke, president and CEO of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation. “Not everyone can or wants to ride 50 or 100 kilometres, never mind 100 miles on Sept. 6,” he continued, “but by volunteering for the ride, everyone can make an impact on the world-first cancer research that is happening at our hospital.”
Ride the Rideau
Date: Saturday, Sept. 6
Time: 8 a.m. start
Location: Starts and finishes at the EY Centre