From left

Helping hospice in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Four local riders will join the Cycle of Life team of 50 this summer

Oceanside Hospice Society is joining forces with other Vancouver Island hospices in the Cycle for Life Tour this summer.

This year the local hospice society will focus on cycling, dropping the annual Hike for Hospice, which executive director Lynn Wood said was running out of steam.

Four local riders will join the Cycle of Life team of 50, covering nearly 200 km over two days from Victoria to Salt Spring Island and back July 25-26.

They are raising money and drawing attention to the need for hospice across the Island.

They will pass through scenic areas up West Saanich and cross to the Cowichan Valley, loop around Salt Spring and down the Saanich Penninsula.

Team Oceanside originally included two members of the “Craig Bay Chain Gang,” group of seniors who have cycled more than 300,000 km combined, but one may not make it due to injury and will be replaced.

“As longstanding volunteers, these riders want to raise awareness that Oceanside Hospice services are funded exclusively by donation, fundraising events, and grants, and are provided at no cost to the patients, their families and caregivers, as well as those grieving a loss,” Wood said.

The team will include avid cyclists and hospice volunteers Stan Brown and Dick Carnegie, along with Christina White, riding in honour of her step mother who recently died with the support of hospice.

“During the final months of Carol’s life, Oceanside Hospice was there, helping us keep Carol’s dignity and comfort as best we could,” White said. “This allowed her to stay at home with the love of her life, my dad.

“I want to thank Oceanside Hospice for all they did and continue to do in support of people like my dad and Carol. The best way I can think of to thank them is to do the Cycle of Life tour with all of my donations going to them.”

The tour was founded by Graham Robertson in 2011 when he cycled alone from Anchorage, Alaska to Victoria in honour of a colleague who died of cancer. It has since raised more than $115,000 for hospice.

For more information and to sponsor a rider visit http://oceansidehospice.com/ and click on the Cycle of Life tab on the right.

For more on hospice, to get involved or donate, e-mail lynn@oceansidehospice.com or call 250-752-6227.

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