Teen finishes ride from Edson to Edmonton, raises $1,500 for the Stollery
Published Sunday, September 23, 2012 3:46PM MDT
Last Updated Sunday, September 23, 2012 5:00PM MDT
An Edson teen wrapped up the bike ride of his life on Sunday – after cycling from the small Alberta town all the way to Edmonton to raise money for the Stollery Children’s Hospital.
Sixteen-year-old Alex Westfal took off from Edson Saturday morning and cycled along Highway 16 to Edmonton – his family driving along in a car behind him for the 200 kilometre trip.
Westfal stopped for the night in Wabamun and then resumed his trip Sunday morning – arriving at the Stollery at noon.
“There are lots of ups and downs for hills, some are easy, some are really hard but you just got to keep pushing,” Westfal said.
Westfal’s younger brother was the motivation that kept him pedalling.
Eight-year-old Christopher had spent much of his early life in and out of the Stollery Children’s Hospital – being treated for a respiratory virus and severe sleep apnea.
“Christopher had to be hospitalized for a week on oxygen and it was a very bad situation for our whole family and the Stollery not only takes care of the patients, it takes care of the whole family as well and they’re just a first-class organization,” said Gerrilynn Curda, Westfal’s mother.
The family credits the Stollery for saving Christopher’s life – and helping other friends and family members - including Westfal himself, who received treatment for a broken hand.
“I just had surgery in the Stollery not too long ago and one of my cousins and really close friends were in there too,” Westfal said.
“The Stollery has saved his friends and he’s seen the good work the Stollery does,” Curda said.
And while the trip was a slow one – with Westfal’s top speeds reaching just 25 kilometres an hour – Westfal’s mother says it gave her a lot of time to think about her special boy.
“I think, ‘what did I do to raise such a good kid?’” Curda said.
“You know, he’s awesome. I was surprised that he would this. It’s not really normal for a teenaged kid to do something that he’s not going to benefit from. He’s not getting anything other than the joy of giving and I’m really proud of him for that. He’s doing this for other people.”
Westfal’s goal had been to raise $1,500 for the Stollery and he tells CTV News he's surpassed that goal.
Anyone still interested in donating to ‘Alex’s Ride for the Stollery’ can do so by using the Stollery reference ID # IF-0534.
With files from Amanda Anderson