Graham Hales is a driven individual.
When the Colwood resident sets his mind to something, he gets it done and this time, he managed to raise almost $7,000 for the Victoria Hospice.
Hales took on the Cycle of Life tour, a two-day bike ride that benefits hospice care on Vancouver Island.
He joined 125 cyclists representing eight hospices on Vancouver Island in raising $276,200 with all proceeds going towards hospice. And, to his surprise, Hales also came in fourth place for most donations collected.
“I was just really blessed and very overwhelmed when they recognized me,” Hales said.
With two teammates, Hales rode 140 kilometres and spent seven hours in the saddle over the course of two days. He said participating in the event and meeting so many different people was “quite the experience” and something he plans on doing for the rest of his life.
“It was quite moving, everyone was there for the same purpose,” Hales said. “It was really neat just to hear everyone’s story, they all had a person they were riding for that they had lost.”
Last year, Hales lost a close friend to ALS. He said this cause — supporting hospice — hits home.
Hales began collecting donations well before the ride and had a spinathon in mid-June at the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre. He took on the challenge of riding a spin bike from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the recreation centre’s lobby, collecting donations throughout the day. At the time, he had promised to raise at least $5,000 to help keep Vancouver Island hospice care in motion.
The top fundraiser in the Cycle of Life tour ended up raising $18,000, Hales said. Next year, Hales and the top fundraiser plan on challenging each other to a spinathon duel to see who can raise the most funds in a day.
For Hales, the entire event has been overwhelming. Each of the cyclists worked hard to raise money and Hales said the actual tour felt like a reward.
“I found people wanted to give and give so selflessly,” Hales said. “It made me want to be a better person.”