Virtual Granfondo exceeds expectations by raising over $40K

Courtney Young (left), Jeff Burchill, Kathy Johnson and Ken MacAlpine, Dr. Glen Maddison of St Joseph's Hospice, Kelly Chartrand, and Jody McGregor of Bluewater Health. (Submitted photo).

A non-profit organization has raised over $40,000 for palliative care education in Sarnia-Lambton through a virtual cycling event.

This year’s virtual Bluewater International Granfondo saw over 600 cyclists from around the globe.

Chair Ken MacAlpine said the amount raised was more than what was expected.

“We were anticipating 200 or so riders which would have been about 20 per cent of what we had in 2019 but we had about 65 per cent of what we had in 2019 take part from across Ontario, and a large per cent of that was from our local area,” he said.

Money raised through the event supports the Bluewater Palliative Care Retreat, which is being held virtually on Friday, Sept. 10.

McAlpine said the event is usually held in Grand Bend and features world-class speakers. At this point, about 300 people are signed up for this year’s virtual retreat.

“It certainly is making a mark in the palliative care world. This year, as an example, we have every province in Canada represented as listening to it,” said McAlpine. “We have a combination of palliative care doctors, we have nurses, we have PSW’s, and we have people that volunteer within the palliative care world.”

To date, Bluewater International Granfondo has raised over $240,000 for the palliative care community.

McAlpine said they’re optimistic that next year’s event will be held in-person with a large crowd of supporters.

“Based on emails and the positive response we’ve had, we anticipate 1,500 people,” he said. “We’ve had people out of Scotland, we’ve had people out of England, and we’ve got some people from Germany who say they’re coming next year.”

Plans for the 2022 event are underway.

-With files from Melanie Irwin