Grandmothers from Qualicum Beach to Africa
Maureen Groves is spending more time than usual out on local roads.
"I belong to the Oceanside Grandmothers for Africa group which is part of the Stephen Lewis Foundation," she recently explained to The News about her current adventure.
"The various Grandmothers to Grandmothers groups raise money to help grandmothers in Africa that are supporting and mothering their orphaned grandchildren due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic."
Last year Groves started cycling with the Victoria group to raise money and awareness, doing the fifth annual ride 275 kilometres from Campbell River to Victoria.
Groves, not shy about turning 60 just before this year's ride, moved to Qualicum Beach with her husband Ron 20 years ago from Victoria.
"We knew we wanted to retire here, so we moved here with the kids so they could grow up here," she said.
They started a card and gift shop and switched to open Village Clothing about 17 years ago, which she and Ron still run.
"This will be my second year riding with the group, last year I raised over $2,100 and our team raised over $59,000," she said, proud of the efforts of her 30 women teammates ranging in age from 50 to 81.
They hope their cumulative six year total will surpass $250,000 this year.
Groves has made it to Victoria a couple times to train with other riders this season, but generally she can be seen training around District 69, riding to Cook Creek and back or around the Coombs-Parksville triangle.
They ride from Campbell River to Qualicum Bay on Friday, September 7 and stop for breakfast with mayor Teunis Westbroek at the Shady Rest at 9 a.m. the next morning.
That day, September 8, they make their way most the rest of the way down the Island with brief breaks along the way as various Grandmother to Grandmother groups help refresh and support them. They plan a stop at the Nanoose Place hall around 10:30 a.m.
On Sunday they ride the final stretch into a large welcome in Victoria on National Grandparents Day.
To donate visit bit.ly/maureeng or contact Groves at her store in Qualicum Beach at 250-752-0436, firstname.lastname@example.org or 120 W. Second Avenue.