For the sixth consecutive year local fundraiser and cyclist Coreen Spencer will be participating in the Alberta Ride to Conquer Cancer in August of 2016.
Following the success of her 2015 ‘Game of Thrones’ initiative in which Spencer placed toilets on the lawns of Sylvan Lakers homes now has a new fundraising idea up her sleeve which the community is soon to see ‘flocking around’
The dedicated cyclist began fundraising for cancer and participating in the 232km ride after having watched an ad for the ride on T.V. a number of years ago. She explained it started as a personal challenge after having not been out on her bike in a number of years. The race also required participants to raise a minimum of $2,500.
Although Spencer had not at this time been closely affected by cancer she still felt the cause was one she knew she wanted to support.
Following her initial ride after having completed the gruelling two day trek through the foothills and raising the necessary funds to participate she received a call from her best friend.
“About two months after that first ride she phoned and told me she had cancer,” remembers Spencer. “She wanted me to ride for her the next year so away I went and rode for her the next year, unfortunately from the date she was diagnosed she only made it about two months – so now every year I ride for her.
“Now as the years go by I meet more and more people both through the ride and through the initiatives I do in the community like the toilets last year and they tell me stories of their friends and family members who have been diagnosed with cancer,”
Last year’s fundraising efforts by Spencer saw just under $15,000 going towards cancer research with just under $5,000 coming from her highly successful local initiative, ‘Game of Thrones’, which saw the cyclist sneaking around in the dead of night placing toilets on peoples lawns. Citizens were then required to make a donation to have the toilets moved to some one else’s lawn.
This year Spencer plans to try a different and much lighter to move approach. Sylvan Lakers can soon expect to see flocks of pink flamingos popping up on lawns across town.
After the success of ‘Game of Thrones’ she hopes this year’s ‘Getting Flocked’ will have a similar result.
Spencer explained a flock of 24 flamingos can be sent to your lawn by a friend or acquaintance. One of the birds will carry a card with information about the flocking. Recipients can then contact her via email, text or phone call and arrange to have them sent to someone else for $40.
“If they are curious people, they can pay an extra $10 to find out who sent them the flock,” she added. “The flock is moved under the cover of darkness to keep it more of a mystery and hopefully something funny for people to wake up to. The plan is to keep the flock moving until the end of October.”
Spencer explained the campaign has become a magnet for local people to share their stories while also allowing her to meet many amazing people. She added she not only ride for her best friend each year, she now rides for each and every Sylvan Laker affected by cancer.
“It’s heart warming for people to know that me as a stranger who they’ve never met is willing to do this ride for them,” she explained of the people she has met over the last five years. “We met all sorts of people last year just from picking the toilets up off lawns, we heard some incredible stories and met really great members of the community.
“I’ve been given an able body combined with the strength and determination – ultimately the stubbornness – to be able to continue to do this ride, so I think I will keep doing it until I no longer have the body to be able to.”