On September 15th, Y Cycle for Special Needs will celebrate its 19th year. Over 100 riders will join forces for this 19th edition, which promises to exceed the $162,000 raised last year, grow the 1.7 million raised since the event’s inception in 2001 and secure the continuity of Inclusion Programming at the Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA.
Riders will once again challenge their athletic abilities while raising money to transform the lives of individuals of all abilities, be it, intellectual, developmental or physical. The ride begins at Hillsdale Golf Club in Mirabel and has been specifically designed to include 36km, 60 km and 100 km route options through the countryside, allowing and encouraging cyclists of all levels to participate.
“I know a number of people with children that have autism, and I see what this cause does. All the money helps to make people’s lives better and bring a smile onto these kids’ faces and get them into doing things that normally they wouldn’t do. It’s such a great cause and I can never let it go,” explains Earl Ralph who has participated in the cyclothon for the last ten years. “Doing 100K, like we did today, is nothing compared to the battles that these children have to do on a daily basis.”
Miriam (Mimi) Yazer, 12, plans on riding alongside her mother who will once again participate in the Y Cycle event. Mimi was diagnosed at 18 months with Familial Dysautonomia, a hereditary neurological disease that impacts her health, from her ability to swallow, her severe scoliosis and so much more.
Mimi attended the Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA’s summer camp when she was five. Her parents placed her there because no other place had the capacity and willingness to accommodate her needs. In Mimi’s mother’s own words, “The Y provides a buddy for each kid with needs, they also make every effort to intergrade the kids with the camp that serves more typically developing kids,” stated Julie Kristoff.
Mimi’s family (her brother, mother and father) started to ride to support the Inclusion Programs at the Y not just for Mimi, but for all the special needs people they serve. Other family members have volunteered at the event.
The departure point is at Hillsdale. Support teams including ride guides, mechanics and motorcycle escorts, are on hand to ensure a safe ride for the cyclists. Rest stops are equipped with energy snacks and an assortment of drinks and water. The ride is followed by an outdoor barbeque lunch and prizes.
Y Cycle for Special Needs raises awareness of an often-misunderstood population. It contributes much needed funds that support the Inclusion Services at the Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA, providing children, adolescents and adults of all abilities the opportunity to participate in new and ongoing recreational programs.
The Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA is a not-for-profit organization that plays a prominent role in the life of the Jewish community in Montreal, upholding a long rich history of Jewish values and traditions for more than 110 years. The Y provides a welcoming, pluralistic Jewish environment where the Montreal community can access a range of exceptional programs and incomparable services for the body, mind and soul.
— Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA