Awareness of the Children’s Treatment Centre is slowly spreading across Dundas County, largely thanks to the annual Bike-A-Thon Plus fundraiser now in its seventh year.
For the last six years, lawyer Doug Grenkie – along with a team of supporters – has organized a smaller-scale version of Cornwall’s Bike-A-Thon Plus in Dundas, generating donations to maintain the centre’s counselling services for abused children and their families.
“The Children’s Treatment Centre treats all the counties and Cornwall the same, and Akwesasne too,” said Grenkie. “We all have to chip in and do our bit.”
The Bike-A-Thon will be back this year, with walking and cycling events in both North and South Dundas on Saturday, May 23.
“The community is really talking about it and rallying around it,” said Grenkie.
Grenkie has some help at the helm this year, with fellow lawyer Leslie Ault and North Dundas mayor Eric Duncan lending their support.
Duncan participated in fundraisers for the Centre in the past, but came to realize the need for a contribution specifically from Dundas.
“We have a lot of not-for-profit organizations that have a physical presence in Cornwall but struggle to let people know in the counties,” he said.
Duncan said he believes the Bike-A-Thon is as much about raising awareness of the Children’s Treatment Centre’s services in the area as it is about raising funds.
“We have a responsibility,” he said. “People are more likely to support it if we have a local event … It raises the profile.”
“I am amazed that so many families in Dundas are helped by the CTC, but how few Dundas County citizens are aware of the centre’s activities,” added Ault in an email.
While Dundas is so far the only county to host its own fundraiser, Duncan said he hopes Stormont and Glengarry residents will soon take notice.
“Hopefully we can play a leadership role and show it can be done,” he said.
The coordinators are also hoping for a sunny day and an increase in turnout from last year’s 60 participants.
“There’s more interest this year than ever before,” said Grenkie, noting the local Lions and Leos Clubs will again be helping with registration and checkpoints along the bike and walk routes.
Cyclists can check-in starting at 10 a.m. at the Lion’s pavilion, Winchester Arena, North Dundas High School or the Morrisburg Docksyde. Those in the northern township will head to the Chesterville Fairgrounds, while those in the south will circle back to the docksyde.
Walkers will head out from the North Dundas High School or the Morrisburg Docksyde and join the bikers at their destination. Refreshments will be served at 1 p.m.