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Toronto cycles to 'Crush COVID' and raise funds for hospital
TORONTO -- Cyclists from across Toronto participated in a 24-hour virtual ride on stationary exercise bikes from their homes to raise money for health-care workers at Michael Garron Hospital.
The Crush COVID cycling fundraiser was organized by Toronto Hustle and the hospital. The event was hosted on the cycling platform Zwift and Zoom.
The event began at 6 p.m. on Friday and continued until 6 p.m. Saturday.
Toronto city councilor Brad Bradford, who is also a founding member of Toronto Hustle, vowed to ride his stationary bike from his home for the entire length of the event.
“The incredible team at Michael Garron Hospital is not only keeping us healthy and safe in this time of crisis, but they're also inspiring us to action and participation,” Bradford said. “All we have to do right now is stay home, but our frontline health care workers have to put in the hours to keep us safe.
Bradford said the challenge was difficult during the overnight hours, but hearing stories from other participants and how COVID-19 has impacted them was all the motivation he needed to keep riding.
“Someone who has been riding with me all night and all day, her father is hooked up to a respirator right now in an ICU and is really ill, so you think about those experiences and it helps keep the motivation high.”
Organizers set a fundraising goal of $150,000 but just hours after riders set off, that goal was surpassed.
Money raised from the event will help support front-line health-care workers by ensuring the hospital can purchase equipment and respond to emerging priorities as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
“We’ve already committed to providing transportation subsidy for our staff and we’ve also recognized that our frontline health care workers are really stretched, so what we’ve been able to do is provide them with meals not only for themselves but their families,” said Mitze Mourinho, President of the Michael Garron Hospital Foundation.
More than 400 people and nearly 40 teams participated in the 24-hour fundraising event.
“It’s the least we can do, these people are putting their lives at risk,” said participant Christopher Merrick. “It’s amazing the money we’re raising is going to such a great cause and making a difference.”
By the time the virtual marathon ended, more than $203,000 was raised for the hospital.