By Grace Oborne
To make a difference in people’s lives, not all heroes need to be wearing capes, but they can be sporting spandex and lycra while cranking out hope for others in need.
Katie Woodward isn’t a mother and does not have any children who have endured the suffering that cancer causes. But she wants to help children and families who are being affected by cancer.
“I’m not a mother, but I’ve had family members who have passed from cancer. My husband deals with skin cancer, some friends struggle with it, and it’s just a horrible, horrible thing. These are adults that I’m talking about, but I can’t even imagine the kind of trauma and stress it causes for kids. When I saw this event come up, I just had to help,” Woodward said.
In June, Woodward signed up to take part in the Great Cycle Challenge. The Great Cycle Challenge is a national SickKids Foundation fundraising initiative that is held throughout the month of August.
Cyclists choose their personal kilometre ride and can fundraise in different forms such as having a sponsor per kilometre. Woodward set her kilometre goal to 250 kilometre, and has already ridden 133.4 kilometres. She has asked friends and companies to sponsor her for each of the kilometres she completes
Woodward’s initial fundraising goal was $4,000, but has since updated it to $6,000 because friends, family, business, and others have been helping Katie in surpassing each goal. Before this change, Woodward has updated her goal from $4,000 to $5,000 because of the amount of donations she is receiving.
“These people have just been so generous. Even recently, I received a donation for $480 from the Haliburton Highlands Chimney company and that had pushed me over my goal of $4,000.”
On Saturday Aug. 6, Woodward completed 45.2 kilometres for one of her rides for the month. She started from her home in Gelert and while stopping for a break at the Little Tart Bakery on Koshlong Lake Road, Woodward took the Haliburton County Rail Line to Haliburton.
The Haliburton and District Lions Club have sponsored Woodward in her journey to help fight children’s cancer by donating $250 to her fundraiser. Katie met the Lions Club at the airplane by Haliburton Highlands Secondary School during her 45.2 kilometre Haliburton and back ride.
“When I saw Katie’s post on Facebook, I thought, how wonderful that she’s doing this, and that the lions can support her and help her, so it’s just been fun, so great,” said chairperson for Lions Club, Gail Stelter.
This route is the only one that Woodward has planned. She mentions that she’ll continue to reach her goal by doing what she loves weekly or even daily.
“I’ve always been a very busy person, but cycling, of course I can’t ski in the summer, so I’ve had to find something else to do. Cycling has been it and I love it and then just fell in love with this challenge.”
She continues, “I don’t really have a ride planned afterwards; I’ll just be going out during the week. I work from home, so I’ve got a really open schedule. This ride was just a bit more planned than what I normally do because I met up with the Lions club,” Woodward said.
She encourages others to join her in the fight against children’s cancer. To her, cycling seems like such an easy way for people to help and that anyone can do it.
“The about what I’m doing by cycling is not all that special. Literally anybody can do this. Whether they have an expensive bike, a cheap bike, a used bike, a friend’s bike, anything like that, or whether they’re doing one kilometre, 250, or 1,000. It’s something that so many more people should be doing and it’s that easy to do.”
To follow along with Katie’s rides, visit greatcyclechallenge.ca/Riders/KatieWoodward. To donate to her fundraising page, visit https://greatcyclechallenge.ca/Donate/Rider/517030.