Canada’s non-profit and charitable sectors are among the industries most significantly impacted by COVID-19. Imagine Canada reports that virtually every Canadian charity has adjusted care and support programs, cut staff and faced significant loss via cancelled fundraising events. This has moved foundations, charitable organizations and non-profits to develop innovative ways to regain some lost donation dollars that are critical to providing care and support for Canadians.
Ottawa’s Ride Alone Together shows how a time-honoured tradition can evolve, adapt and allow participants to support their favourite cause in a meaningful and interactive way. Ottawa co-chairs Samantha Hastie and Steve Templeton have expanded the traditional one-day ride into an event that spans the summer months and incorporates sponsors, partners and pit stops from Smiths Falls to Cornwall.
Ride Roots in Ottawa
The Ride for Dad originated in Ottawa in 2000 when founder Garry Janz suggested a motorcycle ride to raise awareness for prostate cancer. Now, 20 years later, Telus Ride for Dad Canada has donated more than $35 million to the Prostate Cancer Fight Foundation. While this year’s ride may look a little different, Samantha Hastie explains how they have been able to maintain the local focus and interactive excitement and camaraderie, keep everyone safe and healthy, and open the opportunity to a new group of participants. “With COVID, every day we are learning new things and every day, people have to pivot whether they’re fundraising or it’s their business models. So when we launched Ride Alone Together, we thought – this could open it up to even more people”.
No Bike? No Problem! Everyone Can Ride Alone Together
As Samantha noted, Ride Alone Together is not limited to motorcycle riders. While past events were single day, bike-exclusive runs, this year’s “create your own route” model allows anyone to mark out their route on one day, or create, share and follow several routes over the entire summer. “It started in June and continues right up until September 26. People can get out and enjoy routes all summer long and if you don’t ride, you can be a “Champion”; promote the Ride for Dad and collect pledges. Go in your car if you like. There are endless opportunities to participate.”
If you would like to support the Prostate Cancer Fight Foundation, whether you ride or not, you can register online and raise pledges, create your own route and post your selfies along the way with hashtags #RideAloneTogether, #TELUSRideForDad, #MY2020Ride, and hashtags of any sponsors you visit. There is also an online shop for Ride for Dad merchandise at www.ottawaridefordadstore.com.
However you choose to participate, every dollar counts and monies raised locally will be directed through the Ottawa Chapter. Fundraising participants qualify to win national prizes including a TELUS Technology Package and the Grand Prize, a Renedian African Motorcycle Adventure valued at over $10,000. Local prizes include a $500 gift card from Hometown Sports Grill and a $2,500 gift certificate from Freedom Harley-Davidson® of Ottawa.
“Prostate cancer can be beaten if detected early. The bikes are all about making noise. We want men to get checked, we want to promote prostate cancer prevention, and raise funds.”
Ride Alone Together happens until September 26. For more details or to register, visit www.ridefordad.ca/ottawa/.