Big-hearted Sikh bikers raise $100K to fight pediatric cancer
Darcy Matheson, CTV Vancouver
Published Monday, July 18, 2016 11:03AM PDT
Last Updated Monday, July 18, 2016 11:18AM PDT
A group of Sikh bikers with big hearts hope that their cross-country ride to fight childhood cancers will pave the way for a new generation of caring.
Twenty-four members of the Sikh Motorcycle Club rolled into Surrey Sunday night, two weeks after departing for their journey to raise awareness about the devastating diseases.
On 13 bikes, the members rode a total of 12,000 kilometres – about 1,200 per day – through B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, before turning around in Montreal.
Their donations to the Canadian Cancer Society will surpass $100,000 – far exceeding their initial goal of $60,000.
Along the way, the bikers met community members and appeared on local TV and radio stations to share their journey.
"Every city they went to the Sikh community, the non-Sikh communities, everyone was cooperative of them," said club founder Harjinder Singh Thind.
"It was a safe trip, no accidents, no trouble on the motorcycles, everything was fine."
It wasn't all smooth sailing, however. Along the Prairies the group hit a patch of nasty storms. But the inclement weather, including hail and thunderstorms, didn't deter them from their mission.
"We thought about those kids that are in need that need that money and so that gave us energy and we kept fighting through it," said rider Charnjit Dhadda.
"A lot of guys were sticking their thumbs up, clapping, even when it was raining. So that was a big boost."
The ride is a partnership with the Canadian Cancer Foundation, and the funds will be used for research and prevention for pediatric cancers and also children currently undergoing cancer treatments.
Allan Mugford, the agency's regional director for the Fraser Valley, said they were "stunned and amazed" by the fundraising effort.
"This is a totally committed and passionate group of community members," he told CTV Vancouver.
Beyond fighting childhood cancers, the riders had another mission: bringing communities together, and Thind believes they've done just that.
"The main purpose of this club was to build a bridge between the mainstream community and us – that the Sikh next door living here is one of us. And so we were able to make that a success," he said.