Bellerose Bike-a-thon races for a cure
Saturday, Mar 12, 2011 06:00 am
If you listen closely enough, you can still hear the hum of stationary bikes coming from Bellerose Composite High School's main lobby.
More than half of the entire student body just wrapped up the eighth edition of its annual Bellerose Bike-a-thon, a 48-hour effort in endurance that saw 68 teams pedalling their way to a massive charity donation while having the most fun doing it.
“It never ceases to amaze me,” exclaimed Sue Leighton, the athletics director and the main organizer of the event. By yesterday's tally, the effort had already generated about $130,000 in pledges and donations.
That's a fantastic leap in fundraising, especially considering last year's record total had 520 participants bring in $107,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society and $15,000 for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
Leighton isn't even bothered with the amount of planning and preparation that goes into the effort. There is an elaborate schedule that makes sure that lessons are only gained, not missed.
“We do hold classes. The expectation is that this is a learning environment first but we want to support our kids and the way we [do that] is that they have every opportunity to be a part of it in the best way we can: by making it 48 hours.”
To witness the kickoff is like watching Halloween in March. People wear all manner of crazy costumes like bubblewrap onesies or full body monochromatic spandex Morphsuits. They comprise teams with names like Dumbledore's Army and Captain Communist.
Joining the students was a team of Bellerose alumni and the Cops for Cancer riders as well. Leighton herself is on the teacher team.
William Gillett and Meaghan Johnson are two Grade 12 students with Pirates of the Cure-ibbean. This is their third year riding. Funny clothes and other revelry aside, their purpose is pretty clear.
“I do it to raise money for cancer and find a cure,” Gillett said.
Not even the daunting thought of sore muscles or sleeplessness can keep some people away. Just before Wednesday's launch, Johnson was full of energy and predicting how she'd feel at the end.
“Honestly, I'm going to be a little tired because I'm going to try to do this one with pretty much no sleep. The energy around here … it just keeps you going.”