Vivian ChuiOmineca Express
Two northern B.C. nurses embarked on a six-day bike ride from Prince Rupert to Prince George last week to raise funds and awareness for Hope Air, a national charity that provides free flights for those traveling far from home for specialized health care.
The Riding the Bridge to Healthcare for Hope Air campaign aims to replicate the distance that patients take to reach specialized treatment, but the route is in fact only half of it as most need to travel to Vancouver, said Mikaela Pond, one of the nurses.
Pond and Jennifer Miller both worked in northern communities in B.C. — including Fort St. John and Fort Nelson where some patients ended up traveling to Alberta for more convenient treatment — though she said Prince George already offers a lot more services than ten years ago.
$4,595 has been raised so far for the campaign’s $6,000, which would cover 25 Hope Air flights in northern B.C.
The two bikers had encountered much support along the way, including encouraging honks from truckers as well as bike repairs and maintenance in Smithers and Fraser Lake.
“They had a flat bike tire,” said Emily Rankin from Par3 Sports in Fraser Lake. “It was a good cause.”
The community had recently raised nearly $40,000 for Fraser Lake resident Walter Schmidt to travel to Vancouver for cancer treatment.
“It’s a lot of money for a small town,” Rankin said.