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Volunteers turn vision into reality at Grand Bend to London Bike Ride for MS

By: Liz Dadson
July 15, 2017
 
 

Some say volunteering is one of the most satisfying things a person can do. When it comes to charity events, such as the PwC MS Bike ride from Grand Bend to London and back, volunteers turn vision into reality. 

“Volunteers are critical to the event,” says Sarah Mann, senior manager of community engagement and development with the Southwest Ontario region of the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society of Canada. “The ride absolutely could not happen without the support of hundreds of people who give their time, skills, and passion.”

This year's ride kicks off Saturday, July 29, at 7:30 a.m. at the Grand Bend Motorplex.

Volunteers at the PwC MS Bike contribute by doing everything from food preparation and co-ordinating riders' luggage, to photography, and leading stretches and yoga for the riders.
 
Some volunteers have personal connections with the ride that brings a certain dedication and passion to what they do for the event.

Anne Thibert, co-captain of C.T. Soil’s Mighty Celtic Warriors, has chosen to volunteer with the committee for the MS Society in addition to cycling in the ride, over the past few years. Having more than 15 years of experience with the ride, she is able to provide an in-depth understanding of what can help the participants throughout the event.

“I rode for 12 years, and I always wished I knew when the checkpoints were coming up,” says Thibert. “We decided to start making signs that say five kilometres to the exit and putting them out, and it’s something that we’ve donated to the MS Society and the tour.”

Leading up to the event, the MS Society has meetings with members of the volunteer committee, such as Thibert, who assist in the planning and execution of the event to make it successful for riders and volunteers, alike.

Riders who come back year-after-year, notice the impact the volunteers have on the ride, and everything they do to help participants cross the finish lines and keep them comfortable throughout the weekend.

“My feeling is that the ride absolutely could not happen without the volunteers,” says Paul Fraser, a rider in his fifth year with the PwC MS Bike. “My focus is making it to London and back again safely, and the volunteers take care of everything else for me.

“It's very motivational hearing the cheering team at every rest stop, it keeps me riding, and the motorcycle team does a great job at keeping the riders safe and on course. My luggage disappears at ride time and then magically shows up at the end without a hitch.” 

Hundreds of volunteers are needed every year to help the riders make this inspirational event what it is.

“We still need volunteers in many roles and are asking people to connect with us if they are interested in being a part of this awesome event,” says Mann. If you are interested in getting involved, contact Mark Goguen at Mark.Goguen@mssociety.ca or 1-888-510-7777, Ext. 3307.

Riders are also gathering pledges to help raise money for MS research. Among those is Dorinda Bowers of Kincardine; for more information on how to donate to her ride, check her Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/dorinda.bowers.94

 

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