YMCA Canada

June 26, 2012 09:30 ET

A Grandfather Fights Child Obesity on Two Wheels

A 58-year old amateur athlete plans to complete a cross-country bike journey in 28 days to raise funds and awareness for the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 25, 2012) - YMCA volunteer Don Patterson has started a personal challenge to complete a 7,220 km cross-country bike journey from Vancouver, BC to St. John's, Newfoundland in 28 days to raise money to fight child obesity. All the money raised will support the YMCA Strong Kids campaign to give kids the opportunities they need to live healthier, happier lives now, but also to grow into productive adults.

"I have two grandchildren and three children. My family benefited much from the YMCA programs to stay healthy and happy. Every kid deserves a chance to play sports, get active, and make friends. The YMCA is making this possible. It's the surest way to keep children healthy," said Patterson.

As an amateur athlete, Mr. Patterson completed a bike journey from Victoria, BC to Thunder Bay, ON to raise money for the YMCA in 2010. This year he is taking on an even bigger goal to support the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign. On his journey and throughout the year, Mr. Patterson will also visit local YMCAs to raise awareness on the importance of healthy living to parents and children.

"Child obesity is a national epidemic in Canada. Twenty-six per cent of Canadian children aged two to 17 are currently overweight or obese," said Diana Deakin-Thomas, general manager, YMCA Strong Kids Campaign. "We are extremely fortunate to have volunteers like Don to support us to help children live healthily. The battle against child obesity can only be won with community support and advocacy."

Mr. Patterson will chronicle his journey on his blog and he is encouraging donations be made directly to local community YMCAs throughout his journey: http://ykids.blog.com/donations/.

For more information about the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign, visit www.ymcastrongkids.ca.

About YMCA Canada

The YMCA Canada is a charity dedicated to building healthy communities. We are committed to nurturing the potential of children, youth and families, promoting healthy living and fostering social responsibility within the community. There are 43 YMCA Associations and eight YMCA-YWCA Associations across Canada. Together, we serve more than two million people, in 1,000 Canadian communities. Our focus on inclusiveness and accessibility means we serve people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities through all stages of life. Through YMCA financial assistance programs and the YMCA Strong Kids campaign, the YMCA is accessible to all.

Contact Information

  • Media contact:
    YMCA Canada
    Meghan Reddick
    Vice President, Communications
    Direct: (416) 967-5435, or Cell: (647) 980-9157
    meghan_reddick@ymca.ca