St. Marys cyclists fundraising, training for 500 km Jumpstart Pedal for Kids ride

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Shannon Rooney, left in both photos, and Michelle Bouwman were in Ottawa last year before setting off on a five-day 500 km bike ride to Quebec City as part of the Jumpstart Pedal for Kids ride. They’ll make the trip again this year, this time from Huntsville to Toronto.

By Dan Rankin
There’s less than month left before St. Marys Canadian Tire co-owner Michelle Bouwman and computer operator Shannon Rooney embark on a five-day, 500 km bike ride from Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville to Toronto as part of Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart Pedal For Kids campaign.

As such, they’ve set a rather gruelling training schedule for themselves, including daily bike rides before work beginning at 6:30 am of at least 25 km, on top of trips to the gym and spin classes. They’ve also been hard at work fundraising, having already collected $8,500 towards their goal of $10,000.
“We’re still needing another $1,500 and we’re hoping that some businesses in town can help us out with that,” said Bouwman. “If we reach our $10,000 mark then Jumpstart actually donates another $5,000 to that and it all stays in town. So, it goes into our pot of money to allocate to kids in town.”
Jumpstart is a national organization that aims to help kids ages four to 18 who are from financially disadvantaged families participate in organized sports and physical activity. For the past number of years, Jumpstart has broadened its eligibility criteria to make more people eligible for the funds, Bouwman said. It also covers costs associated with sports equipment and travel. This year’s Pedal for Kids ride runs Sept. 11-15.
Both Bouwman and Rooney completed the 500 km trip from Ottawa to Quebec City in last year’s Pedal for Kids tour, raising almost $14,000 in town, before the corporation contributed an additional $5,000 to bring their total around $18,500. That money helped 261 families last year, Bouwman said, and there is still money left over being used to create numerous recreation programs in St. Marys.
Anyone interested in donating can come into the St. Marys Canadian Tire to do so, or email Bouwman at DMBouwman@sympatico.ca. Of course, they’ll also be making the rounds to down town businesses next week.
“We’re in the last month of fundraising and we’d like to secure it so we can just focus on the training,” Bouwman said. “$8,500 is great to raise in on year, considering we just did it last year too, but to miss out on that extra $5,000 by just $1,500 would be a shame.”
For more information about Jumpstart, visit Canadiantire.ca/jumpstart, or inquire about it to some its local community partners, including the Salvation Army, the Recreation Department or the YMCA.