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HMCS Fredericton raising money for Children’s Wish

Members of the HMCS Fredericton Sailor for Wishes team train with a spin class at the Shearwater gym on April 12.
Photo: Ryan Melanson, Trident Staff

HMCS Fredericton team gearing up for charity bike ride across New Brunswick

By Ryan Melanson,
Trident Staff

Over the past nine years, crews from HMCS Fredericton have raised nearly $500,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation New Brunswick chapter through the ship’s annual Bike for Wishes fundraiser. It’s become an important source of funds for the organization, as well as a great morale booster for the RCN sailors who take part each year. Now, as the weather starts to warm up, they’re ready to do it once again.

This year, Fredericton has renamed its signature fundraiser, now known as Sailor for Wishes, but the intent remains the same – to cycle 1,000 kilometres across the province of New Brunswick, stopping at numerous communities along the way to raise much-needed funds for the Children’s Wish Foundation.

For the event’s tenth anniversary, the crew hopes to top last years’ fundraising total, which set a new high mark of $77,000.

“This year, our goal is to raise about $100,000, which would work out to be about 10 wishes granted for kids,” said Lt(N) Ian Daniels, the lead organizer for the 2018 Sailor for Wishes team.

The team will split up into two groups of 10, each biking a different route across the province, with stops at communities including Bathurst, Miramichi, Caraquet, Campbellton, Moncton, Sussex, Oromocto, Saint John and more. Fundraisers are held at each spot at grocery stores or other local businesses, and members will also meet with Children’s Wish foundation representatives, including Wish recipients and their families, along the way.

While most of the team members enjoy cycling on their own time, they also began training together in early April in preparation for the long-distance rides in August, with PSP’s Matt MacKenzie leading training sessions on stationary bikes at the Shearwater gym. He said the focus for training has been on short, intense intervals.

“This is so they can be developing the power and strength they need for long distances, rather than the endurance training they’ll be doing on their own time.”

As August gets closer, the sessions will get more difficult, with longer bursts of sustained effort and shorter rest periods.

“We’ll keep progressively adding to it, trying to tailor the classes for what the team needs,” MacKenzie added added.

The fundraiser officially kicks off on August 6; the team will make their way through the province, and wrap up in the ship’s namesake city on August 11, with closing ceremonies taking place at Officers’ Square in downtown Fredericton. Stay tuned for more information on how to support the team as August approaches.

Meet the Sailor for Wishes team

Lt(N) Ian Daniels

Hometown: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Occupation: Combat Systems Engineering Officer

Why did you join the Sailor for Wishes team?

“I’m a cyclist myself; I bike to and from work every day. I saw an opportunity to join the team and do some good work for Children’s Wish. I’m looking forward to seeing some areas of New Brunswick that I’ve never been to before.”

What does being a sailor mean to you?

“It means to serve Canada by helping the country achieve its goals through the Navy, and also to help my fellow sailors achiever their own personal goals.”

LS Ryan Wall

Hometown: Oromocto, New Brunswick

Occupation: Steward

Why did you join the Sailor for Wishes team?

“I used to take part in Children’s Wish foundation parades when i was younger, so I know the organization, and I thought it would be a great to challenge to take on. I’m going to do everything I can to support the cause.”

What does being a sailor mean to you?

“For me, it’s about serving my country and doing what I can to make it a safe place for my future kids and others to grow up in.”

MS Lisa Benedetto

Hometown: Fredericton, New Brunswick

Occupation: Naval Communicator

Why did you join the Sailor for Wishes team?

“Being from Fredericton originally, I’m excited to be part of something that’s going to help out children across from New Brunswick. I can’t wait to be there and I hope I get to see lots of New Brunswickers out to support us.”

What does being a sailor mean to you?

“It means being able to contribute to my country, being able to see the world, and doing something that will make my family proud.”