Wounded Warriors Canada – Honour the Fallen, Help the Living

Wounded Warriors Canada – Honour the Fallen, Help the Living

We sat down with Scott Maxwell, Executive Director of Wounded Warriors Canada to find out about their cycling initiatives!

What motivated you to get involved with WWC?

In 2007 a high school friend of mine was killed in Afghanistan, which was a real eye opener. In a matter of a moment, a war in Afghanistan – where our army was at war yet the nation knew so little about what we were doing over there – had taken a life of a friend from a small Ontario town. It was a brutal introduction to the service and sacrifice of our Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and their families. I also worked for a Member of Parliament whose nephew was badly injured in a suicide bombing attack in Afghanistan. As a result, I started to pay closer attention to the situation facing our Canadian Armed Forces members and, particularly, those that are ill and injured. In 2013 an opportunity presented itself to directly get involved and help out and, from there, I joined Wounded Warriors Canada.

What is the history of the rides, when did they start? Amounts raised?

In 2012 we started using cycling as a program where we would take a group of ill and injured Veterans on bike rides through the battlefields in Europe. This would not have been possible, however, without the partnership with Cervélo – who stepped up to equip the veterans with bikes. In 2012 the group cycled from Portsmouth, England to Dunkirk, France and made memorable stop at Vimy Ridge. In 2013 we took another group of Veterans on a ride from Paris, France to Buckingham Palace. Both rides were phenomenal experiences that highlighted, first hand, the power of sport for both body and mind.

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As our cycling experiences overseas began to gain interest in Canada, in 2014 we decided to host our first annual Battlefield Bike Ride (BBR) in honour of the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. The mission of our bike rides would be to educate Canadians on our distinguished military history; to honour the fallen; and to raise important awareness and funds to support those living with operational stress injuries such as PTSD. We had 90 riders attend BBR14 and the group was composed of both serving and retired CAF members, First Responders and civilians. BBR14 was an enormous success that propelled us to host BBR15 last June to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands cycling from Vimy Ridge to Groesbeek cemetery in Nijmegen. BBR16, The Italian Campaign, will see us cycle a new part of Europe reflecting and remembering those great battles of Ortona and Cassino this June 10-18th.

By the conclusion of BBR16 this summer, our cycling participants will have raised over $1 million – a truly remarkable achievement by all.

WWC Highway of Heroes Ride (HHR) – Why?

Our battlefield bike ride participants have generated a lot of awareness across the country. In so doing, we have had a number people reach out asking if we would ever do a ride on Canadian soil to help raise further awareness and funds in support of our charity’s mission. We felt this year, having 4 years of ride experience behind us, that we were ready to host our first domestic bike ride and on Monday we were proud to announce the Wounded Warriors Canada Highway of Heroes Bike Ride.

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The Highway of Heroes is a sacred stretch of highway that connected Canadians to our Canadian Armed Forces members and their families in an unprecedented fashion. Like the highway itself, this ride will honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country while having a direct impact in supporting our ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces members, Veterans, First Responders and their families who are living with operational stress injuries like PTSD. The ride will be open to 200 people and will begin on September 24th at the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial in Trenton, Ontario.

Just like our battlefield ride’s, the Highway of Heroes Ride is open to all Canadians and cycling enthusiasts of all degrees. This is not a race but an event to bring people together, united behind the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families.

Registration opens April 18th! To register, and for complete information, visit: Highway of Heroes Bike Ride Website

Why choose cycling over any other sport?

It’s something that a lot of people can do and sport continues to demonstrate it’s positive impact on both body and mind. Cycling is also an excellent group event that allows for bonds to form that keep a community of WWC supporters engaged in the cause long-term.

We heard that there is another special ride taking place in 2017 – tell us about it!

VIMY 100th Battlefield Bike Ride. The 2017 Battlefield Bike Ride will be our largest overseas ride yet . In June, 2017 we will take 150 Canadians on a cycling event of a lifetime commemorating the 150th anniversary of the confederation of Canada and the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Registration for Vimy 100th ride will open this September.

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