Spinathon raises funds for new wheelchair bicycle

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: EMILY STEWART
Participants pedaled for a good cause in the Fit for Care fundraiser at Fanshawe College’s Student Wellness Centre. Fit for Care is accepting donations for a new wheelchair tandem bicycle for McCormick Home.

An afternoon spin class raised money towards a wheelchair tandem bike at McCormick Home.

The first annual Fit for Care spinathon, organized by the McCormick Care Foundation and students, enrolled in Fanshawe College’s recreation and leisure services program was held in the Student Wellness Centre on Nov. 21.

Many teams of five cycled for a total of 90 minutes and rotated participants throughout the event. A mix of energetic music and cheers from the teammates kept the participants motivated.

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As of Nov. 26, the Fit for Care donation page on CanadaHelps.org raised $7,425 of their $25,000 goal. Donations will be accepted until Jan. 1, 2020.

Logan Flannigan, one of the event’s co-chairs, said Fit for Care is an assignment for their special events and governance class, where the students have to run a community event. Fanshawe has previously partnered with the McCormick Care Foundation and ran fundraising art shows.

Although McCormick Home has a wheelchair tandem bicycle, the bike is worn out so they’re looking for a new one.

“The residents love it at McCormick Home, like [it] puts the biggest smile on their face,” Flannigan said. “It gives them the opportunity to feel the wind flow through their hair and make them feel like they’re a kid again.”

Victoria DePass, also a co-chair, described the bike.

“A wheelchair bike basically looks like a larger tricycle on the back and then a large chair in the front so the individual can sit there,” she said. “In the back, the other individual will bike them.”

McCormick Home provides long-term and dementia care. Michelle Hancock, the executive director for the McCormick Care Foundation, said that riding a bike and feeling like a kid again helps residents feel more engaged and relieved from anxiety and depression.

“It’s all about engagement. For many of the individuals who have dementia — or even not diagnosed with dementia but being elderly — sometimes those memories seem long ago and far away,” she said. “To reconnect people with it and to become social again, just helps people feel like there’s purpose to their life and gives them meaning on an every day basis.”

She also praised the students in the special events and governance course and added that they would be great role models for her son, a Fanshawe student enrolled in the computer programmer analyst program.

“They are doing such an amazing job. They’ve embraced this project. They’ve elevated it,” she said. “They’ve really stepped up to the challenge creating a peer-to-peer fundraising event. This is no small task and what they’ve accomplished is huge.”

To donate and to learn more about McCormick Care Foundation, visit mccormickcarefoundation.ca.