Firefighters have a tendency to go above and beyond.
That attitude was on display at Delhi District Secondary School during a fundraiser on behalf of cancer research and support services on Jan. 10.
Members of the firefighting team from Station 5 in Delhi performed their mandatory rides on stationary bicycles for a total of 10 minutes, each of them wearing a full set of bunker gear weighing nearly 50 pounds.
The team didn’t go entirely crazy: Members divided their 10-minute shifts into two, five-minute segments. Firefighters, by definition, are fit. Even so, pumping a stationary bike for even a short period of time under these conditions is a challenge.
“I felt like I had just been fighting a fire – hot and thirsty,” said Station 5 team member Brent Smith.
“Station 5 is proud to sponsor different causes. In the community, we support the Delhi Community Medical Centre. So — this being about cancer – this is in our wheelhouse.”
Coast-to-Coast Against Cancer is a fundraising agency with a focus on childhood cancer and its mitigation.
With an “Inside Ride” event such as last Friday’s, Coast-to-Coast provides the stationary bicycles while the community provides the fundraisers willing to collect pledges and follow through with a shift on the stationary bike. Coast-to-Coast has chosen this method because the group also promotes physical fitness.
Teacher Ryan Gaertner, faculty adviser to the students who organized the event, was pleased with the community’s response.
DDSS set a goal of $10,000. Twenty-six teams of six from across Norfolk County took part. The total take was $15,583.
“We’ve exceeded expectations – by far,” Gaertner said.
Coast-to-Coast Against Cancer is stepping up its fundraising because there have been promising developments in recent years in the area of juvenile cancer. The five-year survival rate for childhood cancers in 1980 in Canada was about 20 per cent, the agency says. This has since risen to 83 per cent.
Coast-to-Coast says about 1,700 youths under the age of 19 are diagnosed with juvenile cancer in Canada each year. That might not sound like many in a country of 35 million but the heartache is significant when the impact on family and friends is taken into account.
Coast-to-Coast was amazed with the outpouring of support given this was the community’s inaugural effort.
“This school went above and beyond,” says Nicole Beaton, senior events co-ordinator for Coast-to-Coast and the associated organization Childhood Cancer Canada.
“They’ve definitely exceeded expectations. It has been an incredible success.”