Ride for the Kids participants showed their 10th anniversary buttons during Canada Day festivities at Willoughby Park on July 1. The ride for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice begins and ends at Langley Twin Rinks on Wednesday

Langley-based Ride for the Kids marks 10 years

Thousands of kilometres and $658,000 of fundraising totals later, a ride supporting Canuck Place is still going strong.

It’s a heart-wrenching situation for families whose children are in hospice care, and they need loads of support.

This is why Canuck Place Children’s Hospice exists; the need is also why Ride for the Kids started a decade ago.

Starting at 8:15 a.m. on Wednesday, July 6, the 10th anniversary Ride for the Kids headed out onto the road, with 45 cyclists – including 15 newcomers this year – navigating 165 kilometres of Fraser Valley asphalt to raise awareness and funds for the Canucks for Kids Fund in support of Canuck Place.

With facilities in Vancouver and Abbotsford, Canuck Place opened its doors in November 1995, to become North America’s first free-standing children’s hospice. Over the past 10 years, the number of new patients with Canuck Place has increased 115 per cent.

For the children and their families, Ride for the Kids members and sponsors have raised more than $658,000 for Canuck Place over its first nine years. The goal this year was in the $20,000 range and in the days leading up to the trek, the totals were more than halfway there.

The fully escorted ride starts and ends at Langley Twin Rinks with a stop midway for lunch to support the ride sponsors, Save-On-Foods and Tim Hortons in Sardis. From Sardis, the Ride for the Kids team doubles back to the Canuck Place hospice facility in Abbotsford.

If families are available, the cyclists will meet them at the Abbotsford hospice.

“It’s a very touching moment,” said Team Bayview Towing founder Jeff Bandura, who has been a key part of each of the past 10 rides. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, for sure.”

As well, Vancouver Canucks mascot Fin will greet the riders as they arrive at Twin Rinks to close out the ride.

Bandura, Rick Rodland, Edwin Chang, and Ronny “Waterboy” Dietterle have taken part in all 10 rides and each year, Mother Nature seems to throw new challenges at the cyclists, old and new – more often, it’s the early July sun pushing the temperature past the 30º C mark, but wind can also be a factor.

“It’s always a challenge, because we never know what we’re going to get,” Bandura said. “But it’s all for a great cause.”

Bandura said people can donate online after the ride by clicking here.

For those who haven’t donated to Ride for the Kids before, or haven’t yet for this anniversary ride, Bandura has this to say: “By all means. It’s a great cause and every penny counts. Just keep the donations coming.”

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