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Big hearts build stronger hearts

Bicycle made for 30 returns for annual fundraising event

It takes a big heart to ride a big bike, and this month dozens of residents from Powell River will show they have just that as they raise funds for leading heart and stroke research, by participating in the Heart and Stroke Big Bike Campaign.

An important fundraiser with impressive results, the big bike campaign engages Canadians across the country. Last year, over 40,000 riders, in more than 200 communities, helped to raise more than $7 million for research. This is helping the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation achieve even greater results that change the lives of not only heart and stroke patients, but all Canadians. The goal is to raise $1.6 million in BC this year.

Seats are filling up quickly on the bicycle built for 30. “Last year, Powell River residents raised $20,500,” said Stephanie Crabtree, Nanaimo’s special events coordinator for the foundation. “This year we are hoping to increase that goal by $4,000.” Money raised will help support community programs such as the Sip Smart Program, Vancouver Island’s Stroke Rapid Assessment Research, and help certify local teachers as HeartSmart Instructors. “To date, we’ve reached over 20,000 Vancouver Island elementary students through the HeartSmart program which educates children on healthy food choices, exercise, and the risks of smoking,” said Crabtree. As childhood obesity increases in Canada, programs such as these become vitally important.

The big bike is one of the primary community fundraising events for the foundation. As a great way to team build and showcase support, the bike travels across Canada from April to September, making its way along high-profile routes through nine provinces. The bike is eight feet across at the wheels and 30 feet long.

Powell River’s big bike event will take place on Monday, June 13. Anyone with a big heart is welcome to join in the excitement by registering a team, or support the fundraising goals of existing community teams by making a donation at the foundation's website.