Big Bike raises cash for life­­­saving research

By Jenn Watt

Published May 23 2017

Dressed in red T-shirts and ball caps members of the Haliburton Highlands Stroke Support Group are gathered in around a picnic bench in Head Lake Park on a hot and sunny Thursday morning. They’re waiting to climb aboard the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Big Bike.

About a dozen of them are there but not all will ride the bike. Some will stay behind and cheer on their loved ones as they peddle the massive red bicycle up York Street onto Highland looping back to the park again.

One of those watching from the park is Katie Hall. Her husband Bob is riding the bike. He’s raised more than anyone else on the team.

Katie had a stroke on Nov. 9 2013 and says the money raised for the foundation gives her hope for others.

“Any research they can do to prevent this is important” she says seated in a wheelchair beside the picnic bench surrounded by fellow group members.

After her stroke Katie stayed home recovering for a while but once she felt ready she and Bob looked up the stroke support group.

The meetings have been meaningful to the couple.

“It’s like a big hug. Everyone is so friendly” Katie says.

“And you don’t have to ask for a hug either” laughs fellow group member Lois Rigney.

“We always have lots of good laughs” Katie replies her eyes twinkling.

Rigney says she’s watched Katie progress from a wheelchair to a walker to a quad cane over the last four years. “The group sees the progression” she says.

They meet the third Thursday of every month from 10 a.m. to noon at the Fireside Lounge at the Minden HHHS site.

In total the local stroke support group raised more than $5000 on May 18. Combined with the team from Patient News and other supporters who joined in the day brought in about $8000 for research.

The Minden Big Bike ride was postponed due to flooding but will be rescheduled as soon as the roads are approved for the bike organizers said.