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County schools raise thousands in support of Pedal for Hope

entrancePrince Edward County students showed true spirit in raising thousands of dollars in support of children who must battle cancer.

Pedal for Hope 2014 features a team of 10 officers, emergency services personnel and guest riders visiting 31 local schools over a two week, 400km cycling tour, to spread the message of cancer awareness and raise money to improve the lives of children living with the disease.

Constables Kim Guthrie and Troy Bellehumeur are the County’s representatives on the tour again this year. They, along with the County’s Community Services Officer Anthony Mann, other team and support members, arrived at PECI Wednesday morning.

Rain and cold did little to dampen spirits of the Panthers and the visiting Queen Elizabeth School Tigers. Guthrie explained a reduced team was in attendance due to some officers being called away for duty that morning, but it made little difference in enthusiasm.

PECI, through a barbecue, bake sale, Kicks for Cure and pledges to shave heads, raised more than $2,100 – including $235 raised on the spot with an impromptu auction to shave “the longest mullet we’ve seen yet” on student Bob Williams; who joined six others under the razor on the school’s stage. Queen Elizabeth students presented another $300.

Evelyn Wilson showed her daughter Katie’s ‘bravery beads’ and explained that when a child or teenager goes through cancer, “every bead on a necklace represents a chemo treatment, a surgery, a blood poke, or anything done at the hospital. These beads represent everything they go through,” Wilson said. Her daughter’s battle with cancer ended in 2011 at the age of 15. Evelyn travels with the team and delivers a message at each school.

“The money raised goes toward much needed research fund,” she explained, as more than “10,000 kids in Canada have cancer and 1,500 are diagnosed every year. One in five will not make it.”

Brittany Williams with her dad, Don. Brittany today, inset.

Brittany Williams with her dad, Don. Brittany today, inset.

Pedal for Hope honours those who have died, and celebrates those who are survivors. A touching video presentation saw former PECI graduate Brittany William, and Grade 12 student Sarah Reddick tell their stories of surviving cancer with the love and support of family, friends and strangers.

Brittany began her fight when she was just 11. She has just finished her third year at Trent University.

“After what seemed like a whole lifetime, on December 8, 2004, I finished my very last chemotherapy treatment. This is the day where I started to become much stronger and this is the day trips to Sick Kids, instead of chemotherapy treatments, became check ups and this is the day I officially called myself a cancer survivor.”

Money people raise, said Williams, “helps to save so many lives from cancer. Here’s to one step closer to a world without cancer.”

Sarah Reddick with her bravery beads and signatures of supporters through One Match bone marrow drive.

Sarah Reddick with her bravery beads and signatures of supporters through One Match bone marrow drive.

Sarah Reddick explained her cancer journey that began December 2, 2011 and spoke of the many supporters who were by her side, and, saved her life.
“From then on my life changed drastically… in and out of hospital, travelling and having treatment after treatment. But there was always somebody by my side.”

She explained how her school and community joined family, friends and strangers in support of her battle. When the cancer returned, she learned she would need a bone marrow transplant to survive. PECI hosted a bone marrow drive that saw 289 people register.

That June, Sarah had a match for a transplant and a successful surgery at Sick Kids. She has been healthy since.

“At this time I am proud to say I am a two-time cancer survivor.”

Sophiasburgh-pedal-for-hope

The Pedal for Hope team arrived at Sophiasburgh School wet, but enthusiastic, on Wednesday, April 30.
Students and staff welcomed them with signs, yells, whistles and lots of support. There were bike races and ice cream eating contests. Two Grade 8 boys, Alex and Justin had their heads shaved because the school met its original goal of $1,700. Two sisters, Sydney and Mackenzie had their pony tails cut off, to make wigs.
“We not only met our goal, we destroyed it,” said principal Pooky Nye, sporting purple hair. “Sophiasburgh raised an incredible $4,085. This is an amazing fundraising effort from a small school community.”
Of the total, $2,574 came from students collecting pledges from the community. The other $1,471 came from barbecues, a dance and canteen, primary pj day, hat day, and Eastergrams. Before Easter, Mr. O’Brien dressed up in a bunny suit and students brought in donations for his Easter basket – $201 worth of donations.

The Pedal for Hope team was also rewarded on Wednesday for their ride in the wind and rain with a $4,045 donation from students at Sophiasburgh School. Earlier this week the team was thrilled, and thankful, to collect $2,206.80 from students at Athol South Marysburgh and $3,800 from Pinecrest. Monday, Kente students presented $1,500 and CML Snider donated $1,020 toward the cause.

“This year marks our third tour,” said Pedal for Hope Quinte chair Det.-Const. Jeremy Ashley of the Belleville Police Service. “Everyone on our team is pumped to bring Pedal for Hope to thousands of students throughout our region – whether it’s the crazy and silly assembly or handing out some of the excellent prizes this year to our top fundraisers.”

Everybody is invited to attend the tour wrap-up Friday, May 9 at 4 p.m. in the Belleville Market Square.

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PECI teacher Rob Garden gave Guidance’s Matt Ronan the gears, but lost the trike competition within seconds on the finish line.

Filed Under: Featured ArticlesHastings & Prince Edward District School BoardPECI - It's a Panther Thing

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