Despite the rainy weather that gripped the region Saturday, the local Alzheimer Society’s fifth-annual “Ride for Memories” brought in $30,200—with more money still coming in.
Organizer Margaret Schonewille, executive director of the Alzheimer Society for the Kenora/Rainy River districts, said Monday that more than 150 pledged riders participated this year (although some collected pledges but did not make the trek because of the rain).
“It’s fantastic,” enthused Schonewille of the continued success of the fundraiser, which seems to grow each year.
Riders hailed from Winnipeg, Kenora, Sioux Lookout, and Red Lake to Pinewood, Emo, Fort Frances, Atikokan, Thunder Bay, and everywhere in between.
“We would have had more if it wasn’t raining,” Schonewille added.
There were four starting location for participants across the region—Kenora, Dryden, Sioux Lookout, and Fort Frances. A total of 52 riders on more than 30 bikes left from The Harbourage here shortly after 8 a.m.
Health-care worker Kevin Kennedy, who’s ridden in nearly every one of the “Ride for Memories” to date, said he was looking forward to the ride once again.
“I work with some people at a couple locations that are affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s,” he noted. “Some of them have passed on, and some of them are into other places like Rainycrest now.
“So I see the value in the ride.
“Margaret Schonewille does a great job in organizing it,” added Kennedy. “It’s a nice deal. It’s sort of the last group ride for this area for the season.
“People get together and chit-chat about what they did all summer long, and think about old times,” he remarked.
While she and her husband have enjoyed riding motorcycles for more than 30 years, Joyce and Don Meyers of Emo decided to try out the ride for the first time.
“Friends of ours talked us into coming. We just decided two days, so we had to go around and try to get pledges,” she said.
“It’s fun. You get to see a lot of people you don’t realize ride bikes,” added Meyers.
The local riders went up Highway 502 to Dryden, where they met up with other riders for lunch. The group then headed Atikokan via Highway 17 and Highway 622 before returning to the Adventure Inn here.
Unfortunately, they were blasted by the elements for much of the day’s ride.
Wet and hungry, all the riders enjoyed their evening with a steak dinner, Chinese auction (Schonewille said one rider who won a barbecue donated by The Place ended up auctioning it off to raise an additional $301 for the Alzheimer Society), and prizes for riders.
This year’s top pledge-getters included Dave Canfield of Kenora ($1,875), Kevin Kennedy of Pinewood ($1,623), $1,335 Randy Seller of Kenora ($1,335), and Melvin Jack of Emo ($1,300).
The top pledge-getter got first choice of several prizes, including two-night stays at the Lakewood Lodge in Nestor Falls, Lake Despair Lodge in Devlin, Tomahawk Resort (Sioux Narrows), and Browns’ Clearwater West Lodge near Atikokan.
The annual ride also was a poker run, with the top three hands being won by Canfield, Richie Carroll of Dryden, and Jim Ryner of Dryden.
The best hand got first choice of the prizes, which included a one-night stay at the Greenwood Inn in Winnipeg, York the Hotel in Winnipeg, and the Super 8 in Kenora.
Schonewille said she was grateful to all the district communities involved, and the many businesses that donated prizes—ranging from stays at resorts to smaller items for the auction at the wind-up steak supper.
She added the “Ride for Memories” has become one of her favourite events over the past few years, and is confident next year will be even more successful.
She’s going to be surveying riders as to which date they would like to see the “Ride for Memories” next year. “We’ll listen to what the suggest,” said Schonewille.
Last year, the ride raised about $32,000 for the disease that affects an estimated 364,000 Canadians over the age of 65. In 2005, that amount was $21,000 while in 2004, it brought in $19,500.
Just under $14,000 was raised during its first year in 2003.
< *c>Other fundraisers
As previously reported, the local Alzheimer Society will be holding other fundraisers this month.
Throughout September, the public is encouraged to “give a buck, sign a cup” at the following “Buck A Cup” locations here: A&W, Dairy Queen, Northern Lights Credit Union, Pharmasave, and the Royal Bank.
District participants include the Village Variety and Cloverleaf Shop Easy in Emo, Barwick Village Restaurant in Barwick, Roadside Restaurant in Rainy River, and Lakewood Credit Union in Nestor Falls.
As well, local businesses are welcome to participate in the Alzheimer Society’s “Coffee Break” on Thursday, Sept. 20.
This annual nation-wide event sees numerous locations serve up coffee and dainties for the cost of a donation to the Alzheimer Society.
Staff often do something different on the day of the “Coffee Break,” such as dress up, noted Schonewille.
Local participating businesses so far include Celeste’s, Community Living Fort Frances and District/The Treasure Chest, Creative Memories (at Pharmasave), Gillons’ Insurance, Town of Fort Frances, and Wilson’s Business Solutions.
Individuals or businesses wanting to be a “Buck A Cup” host, or hold a “coffee break,” can contact Schonewille at 1-800-682-0245.