It took 8 days and 1,000 km, but this group of cyclists raised $100K for Ronald McDonald House

·2 min read
It took eight days to travel across Newfoundland by bicycle, but a group from Labrador City raised more than double their goal for donations for Ronald McDonald House.  (Curtis Hicks/CBC - image credit)
It took eight days to travel across Newfoundland by bicycle, but a group from Labrador City raised more than double their goal for donations for Ronald McDonald House. (Curtis Hicks/CBC - image credit)
Curtis Hicks/CBC
Curtis Hicks/CBC

It was all hugs and handshakes at the finish line at the Ronald McDonald House in St. John's on Friday as a group of cyclists completed their over 1,000-kilometre ride across Newfoundland to raise money for the charity.

The ride started in Pidgeon Cove-St Barbe on Newfoundland's Northern Peninsula. It took the group eight days to reach their destination.

Many involved, such as participant Lori Butt, are from Labrador City, and Butt said they know the hardships of people who have to travel to St. John's from so far away, with their children, for medical treatment.

"We understand Ronald McDonald House, what they do, what they stand for and how they keep families together during that time," Butt told CBC News on Friday.

"It's really important to us."

Curtis Hicks/CBC
Curtis Hicks/CBC

The group of seven raised $100,000 for the charity. The initial goal was $34,000, enough to cover the cost of hosting one family for six months at Ronald McDonald House, which opened in 2012.

Ronald McDonald House provides low-cost accommodations for families who have to travel to St. John's for specialized pediatric care and treatment.

Team manager Kayla Edwards said Friday's special moment was a long time coming for the group, with a lot of planning, training, fundraising and hard work involved to make the journey possible.

"We are all very different people. We come from different walks of life, but we came together as a group for one purpose and it is to help families," said Edwards while holding back tears.

"We know as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that we are generous. But this trip, and I think I speak for everybody, the true generosity of people is beyond what we could ever imagine."

Curtis Hicks/CBC
Curtis Hicks/CBC

Christine Morgan, Ronald McDonald House's director of development and communications, told a crowd of supporters Friday that funding has dropped significantly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic due to cancelled fundraising events, a dip in support from outside organizations and increased costs for infection control.

"This new Kilometres for Kids campaign could not have happened at a more critical time for us," Morgan said.

Edwards said every dollar along the way counted. From spare change to bills, she said, no donor will be forgotten.

"This experience will be marked on us forever," said Edwards.

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