A new venue and ideal weather created the perfect setting for the annual Children’s Treatment Centre Bike-A-Thon Plus, held on Saturday, May 26.
More than 500 participants cycled, rocked, rode, ran, walked, and Zumba’d to raise more than $130,000 for the CTC, now in its 16th year in operation.
Due to the unavailability of the Cornwall Civic Complex, home to the event for many years, this year it was moved to the campus grounds at St. Lawrence College, which turned out to be an excellent site for the kind of day they were organizing, said Don Fairweather, Bike-A-Thon Plus chair.
With multiple activities that were going on within close proximity to the river, “we were able to create this family, festival atmosphere that you just can’t get if you spread things out,” he explained. “(It was) a very intimate setting.”
What began as a singular event – cycling - has since grown into a fundraiser with a broad range of activities for people of all ages. Not just a cycling event, “the Plus,” included, a rock-a-thon, car rally and pony rides. Other attractions included a kid’s zone, entertainment, pancake breakfast barbecue and the traditional ceremonial walk.
The Bike-A-Thon Plus committee will meet in the next couple of weeks to review this year’s event, and decide whether to continue to hold the event on campus.
“From a college perspective if the CTC wants to return next year, they are more than welcome,” said Fairweather, who is the director at the Cornwall campus and feels that the committee will be in favour of doing so.
On average, the agency serves 100 to 120 children a year, and since its inception, has served 1,900 children and their families.
The CTC has three programs which offer free, confidential counselling to children who have been sexually or physically abused and their families; counselling and treatment for children and teens that may be the abusers; and a new program designed for children and youth who are acting out inappropriately with their peers.
“We’ve seen quite an increase in the number of referrals from community agencies and schools (regarding the latter),” said Fairweather. “(The program) has proven to be quite successful and it tends to curb inappropriate behaviours earlier rather than letting them manifest into something more serious further down the line.”
All of the funding to support the staff that delivers those programs comes entirely from public fundraising, as the CTC does not receive any government grants.
Bike-A-Thon plus is one of two major fundraising events throughout the year. The other, the Celebrity Breakfast and Walk, is held in the fall.
“To raise $130,000 in a one day event is no small feat, and it’s only possible because of the generosity of the folks in our community,” said Fairweather.
Check out the Bike-A-Thon slideshow on our homepage.