Local Canadian Tire manager riding the bike for Fort St. John's Jumpstart campaign

The Jumpstart program, which is run locally by Danielle Armstrong of Big Brothers, Big Sisters in Fort St. John, was designed to help provide less fortunate children the opportunity to get involved in sports such as hockey, soccer, dance and swimming, but more importantly, helps children develop important life skills, self esteem and confidence.

Last year, the local chapter of the campaign raised and donated over $11,000, providing financial assistance for 77 Fort St. John children who otherwise would not be able to participate.

This year, Chadwick says he wants to help raise even more money, so he himself, along with fellow Canadian Tire employees, owners and managers, will be taking a hands-on approach.

He says it was because of last year’s success that he felt obligated to raise even more money for local children this year.

"I think Jumpstart is a great cause helping kids participate in sports, which really has no negative side to it, its all positive… Last year we substantially increased the amount of money we raised, and I was worried that this year we would have more kids looking for money cause we were able to help so many last year, and may not have the funds available. So this was an excellent opportunity because every dollar I raise stays in Fort St. John."

Close to 40 people will hit the bike on the five day journey consisting of 550 kilometres through Alberta from Hinton to Calgary, travelling through the Rocky Mountains, with the goal of fundraising $200,000 nationally.

So far, Chadwick has raised $450, which goes towards his minimum goal of $5000, while at a national level $30,000 has been raised towards a goal of $200,000.

Locally, plans are still being formed for various fundraisers set to be held at the Fort St. John Canadian Tire, but drop boxes have been set up and are already accepting donations, and a campaign is close to beginning which will sell Jumpstart brand bicycle safety valves, with all the proceeds going to the campaign.

Chadwick, who used to ride mountain bikes recreationally, says this ride is a whole different beast, especially with the elevation changes through the Rockies.

"I’m excited, but I'd be definitely lying to say I'm not nervous. It’s a pretty substantial distance and not the easiest route either through the Rocky Mountains. The first day it’s a 900 metre elevation gain, the second day is 900 and something metres in elevation gain, and the third day is 700 metres."

100 per cent of the money raised in Fort St. John will stay in the local athletic community.

Donations can be made online, directly to Chadwick at cchadwick@cantirefsj.ca or by calling 250-271-1819. Any donation over $20 will receive a tax receipt.

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