A scaled-down and largely virtual Children’s Treatment Centre event in 2022 still had many heroes supporting the cause.
And they were celebrated Thursday at a ceremony at the Best Western Parkway Inn, the Chairman’s Award and the President’s Award handed to the top fundraisers.
Bike-A-Thon 2022 event chair Peter Asquini told the gathering that, in all, a whopping $102,000 was raised.
“That’s amazing,’’ Asquini said of a huge total despite the restrictions the pandemic placed on the event, having it return to its roots of just cycling and walking, but this time with participants doing an activity in June at a time and location of their choice.
An event that got kick-started by major sponsor BMO’s $10,000 commitment in the spring had local clergy members steering the fundraising drive forward, bringing in a massive total of $69,103.
“I’m astounded by all the work you do and by your dedication to the centre,’’ Asquini said before presenting the Chairman’s Award to the member of the clergy raising the most money – Rev. Louis Groetelaars, bringing in just under $28,000, an historic amount.
“It’s the largest single amount ever raised in the history of this event,’’ Asquini said. “You are a true champion for the cause.
“It is your genuine concern that the counselling services the centre provides are available at all times to children and their families that motivates you to devote so much of your time, energy and effort into raising such an incredible amount.’’
Groetelaars, now a three-time winner of the award, has participated in the Bike-A-Thon event for 24 years.
Other clergy members celebrated for their efforts were Rev. Lois Gaudet ($3,947), Rev. Augustine Chike Obago ($8,315), Rev. Marc Piche ($12,521), Rev. Claude Thibault ($12,000) and Rev. Dan Van Delst ($4,342).
“It’s a huge contribution and for that we are eternally grateful,’’ Asquini said.
And, the President’s Award going to a non-clergy person who raised the most money is also now a three-time winner – Isabelle Paquette.
The 13-year-old South Stormont resident, with the valued assistance of family members, each year bakes cupcakes for the cause, and she just had another stellar season, raising $5,650.
It was David Michaud, the CTC president, who presented the award to Paquette, and who noted her long history of supporting the centre.
Paquette when she was just six first participated as a walker in 2015 at the Bike-A-Thon +, and she raised $1,000. The following year she started her unique approach with the baking efforts, and, as Asquini noted, “the cupcake experiment has exploded. . .you are a shining example of what we hope all the youth in this community can be.’’
During the pandemic the CTC had to rely almost exclusively on corporate and individual donations to sustain the centre, which in 2021 marked 25 years in existence, but once again had many traditional fundraising events forced to be cancelled again, or dramatically altered in format.
As for this year’s Bike-A-Thon, it was planned with two objectives in mind: making it as safe as possible for all participants, and being able to hold it regardless of any unforeseen challenges arising as spring turned to summer.
Asquini said the outlook for next year’s event will have the + back in the Bike-A-Thon, first with the traditional launch breakfast in the civic complex salons, then the family-friendly day of numerous events and activities along the St. Lawrence River on the Saturday following the May long weekend.