Coach cycling to raise money for Red Wolves
By Vanessa Balintec
Before deciding to bike his way to Courtright, Ont., this past spring, the last time Bruce Fisher rode his bike was eight years ago.
“I’m 79 years old, too old to be doing something like this,” said Fisher, long-time supporter and bowling and curling coach for the Special Olympic Haliburton Red Wolves. “The last ride I made was to Newfoundland.”
Fisher said he cycled from the Smith Falls area to St. John’s to help raise money for the Haliburton Red Wolves in 2011. But a year after his ride, a new challenge presented itself.
“I had a little fight with cancer,” he said. “I had colon cancer. And I haven’t been on a bike since. So this year I thought, one last time I’d like to raise some more money for the Haliburton County Red Wolves.”
The Haliburton Red Wolves train in bowling, baseball, curling, golf, shuffleboard, and softball and have 35 regular athletes. Among various competitions and games, they participate in the Special Olympics that take place across Canada and internationally each year, an event and sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
To prepare for what Fisher estimates to be a 550 km trip, his wife Judith says he bikes every day, alternating between 45 km long rides and 12 km short ones. However, as much as he’s acquainted with cycling, the only time Fisher enjoys it is when he can get off the bike.
“That’s the only reason I’m doing this,” he said. “I don’t like cycling. But it is a good way to raise some money. I believe people would donate if they can see some effort being put in to try to raise it.”
Proceeds will go towards things such as transportation and travel, as many members of the team are spread across the county. So far, about $1,300 has been raised for the team due to Fisher’s fundraiser, separate from what Judith estimates to be more than $10,000 he’s cumulatively raised over 10 years of being on the team and cycling.
“I really enjoy being with [the team],” said Fisher. “There’s something special. They never give you a bad time, they just accept you the way you are.”
Despite fear he won’t be able to complete the ride, he is determined to see it through to the end.
“It’s important to me that I finish this,” said Fisher. “I don’t want to raise funds, and say ‘Sorry, I didn’t do it.’ That would bother me.”
But Judith remains confident in his abilities and drive.
“Everything he’s ever planned to do in his life, he has finished it,” she said.
Fisher leaves from Minden for his trip on July 3, and will ride rain or shine. He hopes to arrive on July 10. To donate, you can e-transfer to Judith Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name included for tax receipt purposes or mail a cheque sent to the name Judith Fisher or the Haliburton Red Wolves at box 373 Minden Ontario K0M 2K0.