Sudbury man bikes for more than 15 hours in support of Camp Quality

With a goal of 350 kilometres and a total time of 15.5 hours, Richard Bradley cycled around Manitoulin Island in support of Camp Quality, a summer camp for kids with cancer or other illnesses and their siblings.

He summed up his experience from last weekend by paraphrasing Camp Quality founder Vera Entwistle.

“It says we can’t really control the quantity of life, but we have everything to do with the quality of life," said Bradley. “So I was really, really happy to be a part of that.”

His ride is part of a broader fundraising initiative called Around the World for CQ.

“We have two goals,” said fundraising coordinator Matthieu Bonin. “The first goal is to go around the world, so people just log their activities. If you walk, bike, you swim, you do whatever, you go on this website and log your activity, you can post a picture of it using the hashtag #aroundtheworldforcq and that pops up on the site we have.

"So the first one is to go around the world and log 40,075 kilometres ... We’re just shy of 20,000 right now and the financial goal that we’ve set is $10,000 and right now I think we’re just above $4,000.”

Bonin said Camp Quality relies completely on donations and volunteers, so fundraising is extremely important.

“I remember a girl was dancing and she just grabbed her wig and threw it into the crowd, which to me was such a small beautiful moment which I think as a girl losing your hair, that would be very difficult and for her to have the confidence and feel accepted,” said Bonin.

“Camp Quality provided that space for her just to be herself, to have fun, and to accept herself for who she was and I thought that was a really powerful moment and for me, just small moments like that are worth supporting the camp.”

He said the children go through so much in their lives, and the camp provides a refuge,

"A lot of these kids are really sick and some of them go through really rough times – they go through surgeries, chemotherapy, all sorts of difficult treatments and it’s just a place where they get to go have fun and just be a kid,” Bonin said.

Although ready to help a good cause, Bradley said a lot of preparation went into the big ride around the island.

“Over the winter I trained to do a 100-kilometre bike ride, basically just on my own,” he said. “I’ve done them before and then I hired Mike Nawalaniec of Phenom Sports Performance -- he’s a local coach -- and he helped me do an awesome 12-week training program.”

Great motivation

Although biking solo, Bradley had the support of friends, families and even campers to cheer him through a very long day.

“Matt came out and showed me messages from some of the campers and that was great motivation,” he said.

“My favourite one that Matt showed me was basically one of the kids said, 'Unleash your inner ninja,' just because he knows I got to APEX Warrior Ninja gym here in Sudbury.”

With the 350 kilometre bike ride now complete, Bonin said there are other monthly challenges being planned to help raise money, including his friend Simon running 100 kilometres in August and in September, Bonin plans to swim across Ramsey Lake.

“Childhood illness is just heartbreaking, but you can either sit back and take it or stand up and you do some amazing activities and have some fun and you just live life anyways,” he said.

And as for Bradley, he said this is just the beginning.

“I feel really proud of the physical achievement and also that I was able to support the cause.”