News / Calgary

Calgary high school hopes to raise $25K for Alberta Children's Hospital with bike-a-thon

The Diefenbaker Chiefs began their second annual bike-a-thon Friday at 8 a.m. and will bike until Saturday at 8 a.m.

Catherine Wang-Albini is one of 300 people participating in John G. Diefenbaker High School's second annual bike-a-thon.

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Catherine Wang-Albini is one of 300 people participating in John G. Diefenbaker High School's second annual bike-a-thon.

A group of Calgary high school students are biking for 24 hours straight with the goal of raising $25K for the Alberta Children's Hospital. 

On Friday at 8 a.m. nearly 300 students from John G. Diefenbaker high school and other community members, making up 32 teams, began their second-annual bike-a- thon using stationary bikes set up in their gymnasium. Last year the students raised $15,000 and this year they've set their sights on $25K.

All 32 teams are made up of approximately 10 people each, and are taking shifts of half an hour to one hour on the bikes.

Catherine Wang-Albini, one of event's organizers, said she loves how the bike-a- thon builds the student community, while helping the Alberta Children's Hospital Kids Helping Kids Foundation. 

"Last year was more of seeing it come to life, but this year I knew it would get off the ground because of last year's success so our goal for this year was to make it bigger and incorporate more people," she said. "Which we did. The number of students participating doubled this year over last year."

The cause, Alberta Children's Hospital, is one that is close to home for the Diefenbaker Chief's, as one of their very own is this year's Alberta Children's Hospital Champion. 

"Diefenbaker truly is a school that believes in the message of Kids Helping Kids," said Wang-Albini. " Aizad Bilal, who is the champion child, he is our own Diefenbaker chief so it really does it home."

Wang-Albini said she's personally had friends who have relied on the Alberta Children's Hospital and said "you never know when it could be you."

"This is an amazing opportunity not only to raise funds for the Alberta Children's Hospital but it's a unifying force within the school," she said. "The hype has been huge and it's really brought the school together."

Donna Fraser, teacher advisor for the event, said having Bilal— who was hit by an SUV when he was in Grade 5— as a student and as the hospital's champion child has made the event more meaningful for the students.

"He's been a long-standing patient at this point, so it's pretty neat to have that personal connection for the school this year," she said. "He gave a little talk this morning and told everyone about his positive experiences at the hospital and why what the students are doing is so important." 

Fraser said seeing the students participate in the fundraiser together is touching.

"We're all just really proud and hopeful for the future," she said. "You see these really positive young people doing something to build community and make the world a better place, which is just fantastic."

Of the 32 teams participating, one group has one teacher who is biking the entire 24 hours, Fraser said.  

"His team name is the One Man Revolution," she said. "He's sure to be a little tired by the end."

To donate to the cause visit: www.childrenshospital.ab.ca/goto/2017RideOfTheChiefs

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