For five days straight, rain and shine, dozens of teams of jubilant cyclists cheered, clapped, pedaled and partied their way through the streets of downtown Montreal. With a police escort, the riders of the 30-seat Mighty Bike celebrated a year of fundraising for The Montreal Children’s Hospital. This year, funds collected by participants pushed the event’s total amount raised past $10 million. For more than two decades, the money has literally transformed care at the Hospital, allowing patients to be diagnosed more quickly, treated more efficiently and sent home earlier.
“When I joined the event in 1993, a year after it was launched by Sylvie Lalumière and Michael Conway in memory of their daughter, Meagan, we couldn’t even dream that we would end up raising this much money for the Hospital,” says Warren Lee, who has been chair of the event since 2008. “I am so proud of what our teams accomplished and I am so proud to be a part of reaching this amazing milestone.”
A pillar of hope for young fighters at The Children’s
Part of the $430,000 raised this year will fund the acquisition of surgical tools, including telescopes for laparoscopic surgery and a Midas surgical drill, which is used in delicate ENT surgeries, like those performed on this year’s Pedal for Kids spokeschild, 13-year-old Laura Rea. Laura survived a catastrophic ski accident that required over half a dozen operations.
“After I woke up from my coma every doctor I spoke with was so encouraging,” she says. “They always had a positive attitude and always made everything seem like it would be easy and okay.” This year, the energetic and now healthy teen and her family organized a ride aboard the bicycle as a way of giving back to the Hospital.
An annual Montreal summer tradition
One of The Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation’s longest-running events; Pedal for Kids has been an annual Montreal tradition since 1992. Corporate and community teams raise money throughout the year and their efforts are rewarded with a ride on the custom-built 30-man bicycle through the city. Each ride lasts about an hour down the busiest streets of downtown Montreal. With music blaring, people cheering and a police escort leading the way, a Pedal for Kids ride is truly an unforgettable experience.
“I think the key to the Pedal for Kids’ popularity and success is that it has always remained a truly grassroots event, even as it has grown dramatically in size,” says Marie-Josée Gariépy, president of the Foundation. “This is an event that really depends on individuals, who rally their co-workers and friends to make a difference. We love them and on behalf of all the Hospital staff and patients, we thank them for their generosity, leadership and loyalty.”