Dedicated Cyclists Raise Funds for Wheelchairs
Prince George, B.C. – Fifteen riders set out Saturday morning on the 7th annual Bike-A-Thon in benefit of the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation.
The event is sponsored by the Punjabi Canadian Senior Society with all proceeds going to purchase equipment for use at University Hospital of Northern BC. Funds from this year’s 120 kilometre ride to Purden Lake and back are going toward the $100,000 cost of replacing the fleet of 62 specialized wheelchairs at the hospital.
Spirit of the North CEO Judy Neiser is very appreciate of the effort of the ride participants and organizers. “I think it really speaks to the community,” she says “it’s riders of all ages and that really speaks to a dedicated groups of individuals who believe health care is close to home, and we really appreciate what they do.”
“I think it’s about getting together, spending time as a family. They invite our board members to come out (to Purden) for the lunch there. It’s really a nice thing to do but it also gives back to the community.”
Neiser says the target of this year’s ride, the specialized wheelchairs, “can be customized for the patient’s needs, depending on what is afflicting them. So, if a patient has a knee surgery or leg surgery, it can be lifted or titled, it can be altered to make the patient that much more comfortable. So they have asked us for 62 wheelchairs, which is a fleet basically, for UHNBC.”
“So 62 wheelchairs is a hundred-thousand-dollar program ($1,613 per chair). This is part of what they have chosen it to go to. As well our September Casual is going to that, Boogie With The Stars on December 31st is also dedicated to this so we feel between those three events and the community’s support we’ll probably have this wrapped up by the end of December for the wheelchairs.”
Asked about the replacement of a fleet of wheelchairs Neiser says “what happens is that the wheelchairs are at the hospital and they go missing. What they’ve done is they’ve got a better tracking system for them now. We want patients to be able to access them and be able to utilize them and unfortunately, over they years they’ve either broken down, we can’t get the parts for them and so it’s put us in a position where we’re sadly, sadly short right now.”
“We’re managing,” she says “but you don’t what to take away a wheelchair from a patient who could use one. Our porters use them in the hospital to transfer patients and so there are things that we can use but it’s just that much less cumbersome for them. We do try and get patients up as quickly as we can, walking around and moving, but there still is a period between surgery and that level where the physiotherapists are working with them and getting them able to walk.”
“So it’s patient safety, care, it’s a variety of things but these are great wheelchairs and they’re looking to have them provided locally, which is really nice. They’ve gone out to tender locally so it’s a real community thing and I think it will make the services that much better at UHNBC.”
Bike-A-Thon organizer Gurdeep (Gordie) Powar says he organized 15 riders for today’s fundraiser and was cautiously optimistic about the break in the rainy weather we’ve been getting. As far as a fundraising target goes he says “well we’re pushing very hard as we did last year of raising more than $22,000. I am expecting more than that.”
Powar says the riders “try to get there (Purden Lake) at about noon and then lunch there is provided by our Senior’s Society. It’s kind of a family event for the greater Prince George. All of our supporters, we have invited them to join us to have lunch with us, kind of a picnic time.”
He says if the weather co-operates perhaps half of the riders taking part will cycle back to Prince George, all of it weather-dependant.