Family event includes dirt bike instruction for kids 6-12
By Stewart Grant
Those watching this year’s Canada Day Parade will notice a team of motorcycles supporting the “Ride for Epilepsy”, a family-oriented fundraising event planned for this September 15th in St. Marys.
The chairman of the Ride for Epilepsy is Phil Coghlin, a member of the Stratford Police Force who resides in St. Marys with his family.
“This will be the second year for the event,” said Coghlin. “Last year it began in Stratford, with money being raised for the Epilepsy Support Centre of Southwestern Ontario. The funds primarily go to the ‘Game On’ program, which helps kids with epilepsy and other neurological disorders to improve their physical literacy skills. These kids are able to learn to play baseball, basketball, soccer, and in general improve their hand-eye coordination within a fun, non-judgmental setting.”
“This year we are holding it here in St. Marys at the Pyramid Centre, and we’re really excited to have the Junior Red Riders from Honda Canada participate. They are going to set up a dirt bike track on the soccer pitch adjacent to the Pyramid Centre. They bring everything; the dirt bikes, the helmets, all the safety gear and riding jerseys, and they teach kids in the 6-12 age group (if they can ride a bicycle unassisted) how to ride a dirt bike. For the cost of $40, they get an hour of mostly one-on-one instruction on how to ride a dirt bike and to have a lot of fun doing it.”
“For the inaugural event, we had about 30 bikes participate, and between donations and other community support we raised close to $6,000 for the charity. This year in St. Marys, we hope to do even better than that. One thing I’ve always found is that in St. Marys, these types of family-oriented community functions are always well-attended. I think it’s a good opportunity to get the message out there, let everyone have a lot of fun, and raise money for a good cause.”
Along with the bikes, the family-focused event will feature a static emergency services vehicle display, face painting, a bouncy castle, a dunk-a-cop area, food trucks, and a Stratford Police K-9 demonstration.
“Ultimately the event started because it is a very personal cause for me, with both my girls being diagnosed with epilepsy very young. This is something that I’m doing to help out other kids. Both of my girls have been involved with the Game On program in the past and have enjoyed and really benefitted from it.”
To register or to support the Ride for Epilepsy, please visit www.epilepsyride.ca, or for more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.