Outlive Yourself: Ride Along the Rideau
Ottawa City Hall- Hog’s Back Park, Ottawa, ON: July 13th, 2013
My apologies for the lack of posts yesterday and the delay in getting them up today. Between the Saturday event and the time I spent visiting family and friends back home I was kept pretty busy. All that, compounded by computer issues this morning, is the reason for the delayed posts. I promise to make up for it today by posting twice. Thank you so much for you patience and understanding with all of this.
Below, I have posted a bunch of pictures from the Ride Along the Rideau on Saturday. In total, about 80 people joined with about 40 of them choosing to bike along with me for the nearly 10 km ride between City Hall and Hogs Back Park!
Many thanks are in order to all those who made this event such and enormous success.
Thank you to the family, friends and strangers who participated in the event.
Thank you city counsellor Doug Thompson, Marc Chainey of Alive to Strive, Craig Dunbar of Kidney4Craig and the Kidney Hope Car and Hélène Campbell of Give2Live for joining me to help awareness for this important cause.
Thank you Robert Swaita, owner of KS on the Keys Restaurant, for donating pizza and Bill Stewart of the Gloucester Lions who helped sponsor the event.
Most importantly, thank you to my mom Theresa for her tireless effort in helping to promote and coordinate this event and to my dad, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins who supported behind the scenes.
None of this would have been possible with out your love and support. Thank you for standing with me behind in an effort to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation.
Doug Thompson presents a certificate, signed by the mayor of Ottawa and himself, commending me for my ride across Canada and my efforts to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation.
Outlive Yourself: Toronto Event
Centre for Social Innovation, Toronto, ON: July 6th, 2013
My apologies for not posting to the blog yesterday. I had a very busy weekend in Toronto that left me feeling both exhausted and empowered so I decided to take a personal day to rest and recharge yesterday before I continue on towards Ottawa today.
I will be sure to post twice today to share with you all of the amazing things that happened this weekend. My head is reeling just trying to think about all that I have to recount.
Before anything else I would like to thank everyone who made it to the event on Saturday night and all the people who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make it possible. It was truly an incredible and inspiring evening where I got to meet with friends, old and new, and celebrate all the we have accomplished together so far and all that we still hope to accomplish.
In total, approximately $1500 was raised for the Give2Live Foundation by the 100+ people in attendance! This money will go towards helping offset the costs incurred by individuals and their families as they wait for life-saving transplants, making what is no doubt a difficult journey infinitely easier. From the depths of my heart, thank you to everyone for all that you gave, be it money or time, to make this possible.
I will share about the event in more detail this afternoon, but for now I just wanted to post some pictures from that night so that everyone could get a sense of just how awesome it was and just how awesome you all are!
Speaking with Dave Allingham, heart transplant recipient.
Rubbing shoulders with Sandra Holdsworth, Ontario Director for the Canadian Transplant Association.
Talking with Brady Hambleton, project manager of the Give2Live Campaign.
The Outlive Yourself team working hard to encourage new donors (both organ and cash donors).
The Heartlinks Organization presenting me with a gift to honour my efforts and the efforts of the Outlive Yourself team to raise awareness about the cause of organ donation.
Giving Paul Antolin a reason to smile and laugh.
CityTV swung by to check out the event and talk briefly.
Meeting Matthew Antolin’s little cousin Joseph.
Meeting with Matthew Antolin’s father, Paul Antolin, and his uncle Dan, Aunt Theresa and cousin Joseph.
The Outlive Yourself Team who made the incredible evening possible.
Me with the Antolin Family. Paul, Cvetka, Robert and Stephen (Left to right).
I am at a loss for words, struggling to know just what to say following the Toronto event this past Saturday evening.
I am still overwhelmed by the love and support shown to me by all the family, friends and strangers who were in a attendance and the dozens more who called, texted, messaged or tweeted their support from afar. If ever I needed motivation to bike on I got plenty of from Saturday.
It seems horribly unfair to distill the evening into only a couple of highlights, as every part of it was beyond amazing, but I think that is the best option so as to give everyone who couldn’t be there some sense of what the night was like.
Here goes nothing.
1) I was moved by the courage and compassion demonstrated by Maya Stern (@candidMaya), who shared her story about the many challenges she as faced as a result of a life long heart-condition, as well as the joy and gratitude she feels for the donor and donor family who gifted her with a new heart and a second chance at life.
2) It was amazing having the opportunity to meet so many strangers who have followed along and supported my journey as it has progressed. It was especially moving to have met so many individuals who have received organs, or who are still awaiting transplants, to listen to their stories and hear their support for Outlive Yourself.
Incredibly enough, I actually met a family whose wife/mother had just been called in for a lung transplant that night. At her insistence, they chose to pass the time while she was in the Operating Room at the event.
Above is a picture of me with the Heartlinks organization and the Antolin Family. Heartlinks is a community that works to support individuals and their families as they await or recover from a heart transplant.
3) It was wonderful to celebrate with my mother Theresa and sister Megan (pictured below) who came in from Ottawa to support with the event. They, in addition to many more friends, are apart of the Outlive Yourself team that has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make all of this possible.
Just over a month ago I started with only a dream and a bike. It is these individuals who have given so selflessly of their time and energy to grow that dream into the movement it is now. Without their efforts my message would not have reached all of the places it has and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to celebrate alongside them, and to thank them for all that they have accomplished to this point to.
I continue eastwards today with a renewed sense of purpose and passion for the cause of organ and tissue donation and I am forever grateful to have had the chance to meet many of people who have followed along and supported my journey to this point.
Let’s continue to make waves and create change.