By Jolene Rudisuela with photographs from Sam Patterson, originally published in the Comox Valley Record on August 20, 2018
Six hundred cyclists hit the pavement on Sunday, Aug. 19 for the sixth annual Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride.
At their last count, the ride has once again surpassed You Are Not Alone’s fundraising goal of $50,000, but YANA executive director Marcie Dumais said the total is still likely to go up.
“At this point we’re at $58,000 which is so wonderful – we’re just thrilled,” she said. “But I suspect once we tally in those funds [that came in at the event]… we could be getting into close to last year’s total which was $62,000.”
The sold-out ride catered to all ages with a 25 kilometre, 50 km or 100 km ride. There was also a 6 km family route and a Little Wheelers activity for younger kids.
Each route began and ended at the Comox Marina Park.
“It’s a real tangible spirit when they come through the finish line,” said Dumais. “There’s that proud feeling of accomplishment that’s paired with doing something good for the community.”
According to Dumais, YANA would not exist without help from the community and it is events like this that allow the organization to continue supporting families in need. The funds raised go directly to providing accommodations and monetary aid to families and pregnant women who need to travel for medical reasons.
Some children and families who have been helped by YANA were at the finish line on Saturday, cheering on cyclists as they finished their race, and giving out medals to all the riders.
“They do that because they want to show their gratitude as well, so that makes it really special,” said Dumais.
The ride was put on thanks to the help of 175 volunteers who did everything from serving food, directing traffic, and even entertaining on stage. Dumais said though they get new helpers every year, over half their volunteers keep coming back.
“Obviously [the ride is] important for the fundraising, but the community spirit that surrounds the event is really what YANA’s all about,” said Dumais.
According to its website, the organization needs to raise approximately $312,000 each year to continue supporting families. In the past six years, the ride has raised over a quarter of a million dollars.