Bellrose Bikeathon spins into its 11th year

Annual high school fundraiser zooms past the million-dollar mark

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What high school student wouldn’t want to stage a sleepover at his or her school at least once.

That’s exactly what a group of students, teachers and alumni just did for the 11th straight year, as part of the 2014 Bellerose Composite High School annual bikeathon in early March.

Of course, it wasn’t all sleeping bags and slumber.

The 48-hour event this time around not only saw teams of eight to 10 alternate to cycle constantly for two days straight, but the initiative – the largest high school fundraiser in Western Canada – also raised scores of money for cancer research that will stay right here in Alberta.

Charissa Spencer of the Alberta Cancer Foundation says, while there is a fundraising minimum for each team of $1,250, it works out to a drop in the bucket of what actually gets raised each year.

“The vast majority of teams always surpass their fundraising goal,” says Spencer, noting several of the bikeathons, including this year’s event, have drummed up in the neighbourhood of $300,000 apiece.

This year’s sum has brought the amount raised, which goes to support cancer research at the Cross Cancer Institute, over the $1 million mark. “Many of their own peers and a number of their family members have been treated at the Cross Cancer Institute so it’s very close to their hearts,” Spencer says.

Teams of staff, current high school students and alumni are all part in the two-day event.

“My favourite part of the event and what makes it so special is the succession planning. The Grade 12s really set a strong example for the Grade 10s and they take it really seriously,” Spencer says.

About 1,500 riders took part in this year’s event, some even shaving their heads to show support.

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