Elgin Park Secondary students are gearing up for a 12-hour cycling fundraiser benefitting the Peace Arch Hospital emergency room.
Dozens of students have signed up in teams for the half-day of aerobic exercise on a stationary bike in the school’s gymnasium for the June 5 CYCLE4:ER, which aims to raise $50,000.
Committee member and Grade 12 student Micayla Bobsien, 18, said that almost every student in the school has a personal connection with the ER. She noted that without the help of doctors at PAH, her brother, Connor, may not have been the healthy Grade 10 student he is today.
“My brother actually went to the ER for two different reasons, and although he was directed to BC Children’s Hospital after, the doctors at Peace Arch diagnosed him,” she said. “Without going there first, he wouldn’t be here now.”
The cycling will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with a number of fun activities to help students keep up their energy, including trainers from Innovative Fitness who will lead spin classes, music provided by a local radio station, raffles and a barbecue.
Two years ago, students held a similar event benefitting Type-1 juvenile diabetes. While there has been an interest since that event, a series of setbacks resulted in a delay for a follow-up.
This year, P.E. department head Sue Janzen said students were determined to get the event back on track.
“As youth leaders, they’ve grown up in this community and this is their community, too. So, they want to step up and take that leadership role, walking along older established leaders in our community,” Janzen said. “So with the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation for example, those cross-generational ties are really important. Especially for these kids. They want to make a difference.”
The students focussed on the ER as the beneficiary of the fundraiser after filming a short video on the struggles the hospital has in providing adequate care for all the people who come through their doors.
Grade 12 student Kate Barker noted that the ER currently has 19 beds for patients, and only one pediatric bed available, making it nearly impossible to accommodate the traffic that comes into the hospital.
“Our community is growing by a large amount so we’re trying to make room for the increasing amount of people who will be going through the ER,” she said. “The numbers don’t make sense.”
The student organizers added that while it is hosted by Elgin Park, the aim of the event was to create an inclusive and fun day for the whole community to participate in.
“Sometimes it can be overwhelming to get involved, so we are hoping this event makes it easy for people who want to help find a way to do so,” Bobsien said.
With only a few weeks remaining, the students are working hard to reach their $50,000 goal, Janzen said. And while the number is a significant one, she said she has no doubt the students will get there.
“On our wall, we have a sign that asks, ‘What’s the ER done for you?’ When you start to ask that question, you start to hear those stories,” she said. “We’ve all used the ER. It is something that affects us all.”
Funds can be donated on the day of the event at the school. For more info, visit www.elginparksecondary.wordpress.com