One year later – reflections and gratitude

As we just finished celebrating Canada’s 147th birthday, and as the 1 year anniversary of the completion of our trip across this amazing country draws near (Sunday, July 13) I think it’s a good time to say thank you and to reflect on the last year.
So, thank you to all of you. Those that have been keeping in touch through emails, blogs, texts and tweets, those that came out to all of the events across the country, those that shared their homes, the road, their stories, their laughter and their tears, those that worked tireless hours organizing and preparing. And a huge THANK YOU to the members of the team, the board, the steering committee, Terry, Al, Sue and Patrick and our families who made such sacrifices for the effort.

We covered almost 6900 km over the 10 weeks. There were flat tires, breakdowns (both mechanical and human), storms, heat waves, mosquitoes, black flies, long days, sleepless nights, headwinds, aches and pains and lots of hills. There were also tail winds, down hills, incredible vistas, wildlife, sunrises and sunsets, clean laundry days, great food, great company, amazing music and wonderful new friends.

Because of what you contributed and because of the love you shared, we reached hundreds, maybe thousands of people and offered hope, love, understanding, a voice and an ear to all of them. I also want you to know that after expenses, we were able to share over $48,000.00 with local mental health charities in every province across Canada.

Over the past year, I have tried to keep our mission in my sites. It’s been hard, as life seems to push and pull in every direction at the same time, business, grandparenting, home renos, etc. But we keep telling Hillary’s story and encouraging people to keep the conversation going. I was honoured to be the keynote speaker at the fundraising breakfast for The Support Network in Edmonton in September. I also got to speak to a class of grade 5/6 students at our daughter Katie’s school, Delton Elementary, about the journey, the country and the stigma. And we were thrilled to work on “Clara’s Big Ride” with The Canadian Mental Health Association and The Support Network in Edmonton.
We are not sure what’s next on Hillary’s Ride agenda but we know that we will be working on new projects as time moves forward. We have made some wonderful friends through this process and know that with your help we can make a difference.
I’m pretty certain Hillary would be proud of all of us.
“love is all you need”

A year after the start of the ride; 11 years since losing Hillary

A message from Hillary’s dad…

1 year ago I was in Victoria with my family and a few friends about to embark on our cross Canada bike trip.

Today marks 11 years since we lost Hillary.

Betty jo and I went down to visit her tree last night and noticed how the the little scar that the deer chewed into the trunk several years ago has developed into a big hole in the bark exposing the inside of the tree. I think that somehow reflects how the scar that Hillary’s death left on us has somehow exposed our insides as well and like the tree, we have somehow found a way to grow.

I am so proud of how we as a family and a community have moved forward and, in Hillary’s name, done some thing to help make a difference. People talk now more openly about mental health and the stigma is starting to go away. With efforts like Clara Hughes’ and many others moving into the future, I know that together we can make a difference.

As usual friends, I ask you to keep Hillary in your thoughts today and do something nice for a stranger.

“Love is all you need”

Bill, Betty jo and the rest of Hillary’s family
Much Love

spring has sprung

I don’t know if it means anything that my first ride of the year took place on April Fool’s Day, but it sure felt great to get actual pavement ( and some snow, water, ice and gravel ) under my wheels last night. It was a little chilly and I got a little wet but it was way more fun than my dining room on the trainer. I can’t wait to get out on the streets over the next  5 weeks before the big adventure begins and I can’t even begin to tell you all how much I appreciate all of the love and support that has been showering down on this project.

My first 100k

Training took on a whole newmeaning this week end. After a great fundraiser at The Blue Chair Cafe (thanks Harold and staff) with friends Andrea House, Chris Smith, Jan and Jim Baker and Fred Mann that raised $1500, Terry, Sue and I did our first ride together on Saturday. I did my first 100k and I have to say that it was a real challenge. I can’t say enough about the support of Sue, Patrick, Terry and Al and the Edmonton Bicycle Touring Club. I seriously could not have done it without you. Today, i followed up with a 35 k ride with lots of hills with my son in law Peter. Quite a weekend. Looking forward to the next challenge.

Cheers, Bill

So Far……..

Had a great training week end with the help of the great people at the Edmonton Bicycle Touring Club and a chance encounter with friend Ron Smith. In addition, a HUGE thank you to my good friend Tim Chesterton with whom I shared the stage at Boganis Cafe this past Friday. We added another $230 to the fund. Speaking of which, We need $50,000 to make this ride happen and the next big event is a Bill Werthmann and Friends show at the Blue Chair Cafe on Friday July 6th at 8:30. Call for reservations and come out to see Fred Mann, Andrea House, Jan Baker and Me for a couple of sets of great music and wonderful food and drink at the best room in town.

Bill’s Motivation

Ever since I drove across this great country 32 years ago, I’ve dreamed of slowing it down and seeing Canada by bicycle.

First, I wanted to do it by the time I hit 40, then 50, and now, well I will be 56 when I depart with friends Terry Fannon and Sue Sohnie on May 8, 2013. This will be the 10th anniversary of our daughter Hillary’s death. Hillary’s Ride will take us on the adventure of a lifetime and will be the ultimate celebration of her life.

We will go from Victoria to Saint John’s over a period somewhere around 2 1/2 months.As we go, we will be holding concerts featuring some of the riders and many of Canada’s finest performers from the Folk music world which has been so supportive and kind to me and my family over the past years. These concerts will serve as fund raisers for local charities that we are aligning with from coast to coast.

How you can help?!

The ride, as daunting as it seems, is only one part of the enormous challenge ahead of us. We will need a lot of support. For our society (Hillary’s Ride for Mental Health) we have assembled a dedicated board of directors with varied skills suitable to help find sponsors, cash, venues, accommodations and so much more but there is always so much more to do. Please consider what you might be able to add and contact us. No offer is too small or too large.

Also, consider joining us at one of our fundraising events.

Thanks for dropping in,

Bill Werthmann