| Posted: Friday, Mar 07, 2014 05:15 pm
The 11th annual Bellerose Bike-a-thon wrapped up Friday with pledges totalling more than $292,000.
The 48-hour fundraiser kicked off Wednesday over the lunch hour with an atrium full of wildly dressed students, a herd of stationary bikes and a ton of anticipation.
This year’s pledges pushed the total amount of money raised over the event’s lifetime past the $1.2 million mark.
“I feel ecstatic for the people that this money is going to go to,” said organizer Sue Leighton. “Our kids are truly going to make a difference in kids’ and families’ lives. I think the money is only as good as the purpose. It’s only important in the way it changes people. I never liked to count.”
The bike-a-thon is Bellerose Composite High School’s annual fundraiser to benefit the Alberta Cancer Foundation and the Kids with Cancer Society. More than 850 students formed teams of up to 12 participants, each taking turns pedalling from noon Wednesday until noon on Friday.
There were more than 90 teams filling the space, including one comprised of members of the St. Albert RCMP. Detachment head Insp. Kevin Murray vowed to shave off his iconic moustache should the team amass more than $10,000 in pledges. They surpassed that goal with upwards of $11,000.
“It’s a novelty right now,” said the now moustacheless Murray.
“I’ve had a number of favourable comments saying it takes about 10 years off my appearance. It will take some getting used to.”
Murray said it was special for the RCMP to take part in the bike-a-thon for the first time.
“It was great to be part of something that these youth have really embraced and continued for the last 11 years,” he said.
Leighton said that Bellerose’s bike-a-thon is a prominent fixture on the school’s calendar. It’s also widely-known as the largest high school fundraiser in Western Canada. To make giving such an important part of children’s school experiences, she said, is a good example of education gone right.
“It’s about the community and it’s about our kids.”
She added that the event thrives because of the unwavering support of the staff and its student population. The continuing dedication of everyone involved does not go unnoticed.
“This staff is second to none. It is because the staff believes in it. And then these kids …” she paused. “They get it. I love that. I think that this is a part of our culture. Part of our school life is being good citizens.”
Donations are still being accepted at the school. For more information, call the school at 780-460-8490 or visit bchs.spschools.org.
The school is located at 49 Giroux Rd.