Greg Peerenboom, Special to the Standard-Freeholder
Published on: May 27, 2019
Like the rotating spokes of a wheel, residents once again made the annual Children's Treatment Centre Bike-A-Thon Plus a success.
"Things went very well on Saturday. The weather co-operated, so we're thankful for the great turnout," said Peter Asquini, chair of the event which attracted about 500 participants.
The "plus" part of the event makes the outing appealing to other residents who otherwise aren't avid cyclists. "The five- and 10-kilometre walks and the cycling had the most participants. But we also had more than 50 motorcyclists taking part in a rally," Asquini said.
"I am amazed and humbled by the support from the community for the centre," he said, stressing the treatment centre does not receive one cent of taxpayers money.
He said it great to see the wheelchair obstacle course event continue to act as a way for wheelchair users to mingle with those who don't rely on the wheels to get around on a daily basis.
"I got to watch some of the folks going through the course and to see some able-bodied people try it. It gives a great appreciation for the challenge that people in a wheelchair face and for what we take for granted," Asquini said. Asquini said it will take until the week until the committee knows the final amount raised.
But he is fully expecting, judging by the number of participants, the Bike-a-Thon should come close to matching last year's total of $142,000.
"So we can't say thank you enough for all the participants who came out, and all of their work collecting pledges. They really do care about the centre and the work that it does.
"It really is amazing."
While participants were abroad on city and county routes, the event's epicentre at St. Lawrence College kept everyone fed and entertained.
"Volunteers started setting up Friday and we had more folks for the barbecue Saturday morning and many more for safety and security along the bike and walking routes," Asquini explained.
Asquini said participation in the tug-of-war, which was added a few years ago and has become a popular spectator event, was trimmed due to commitments by a couple of fire departments.
"But it was attended and everyone enjoyed that."
Inside, a magic show by local entertainers, the husband-and-wife team of David Runions and Lisa Etherington-Runion, held the next generation's attention.