In late July, Kelowna resident Grant Fletcher, a senior account manager at Valley First Credit Union, completed a gruelling course that saw him cycle from Kelowna through to the Gulf Islands.
Fletcher hit the road aboard his bicycle in memory of his long-time friend Margaret Moore, who passed away unexpected over a year ago due to heart failure.
His trip, aptly named Coffee with Margaret, has raised $10,000 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
What began as an offhand remark made on his 60th birthday turned into a five year commitment for Fletcher. 2009 marked the 10th anniversary for the Cops for Kids Ride, an annual 1,000 km bike ride that raises much needed funds to assist children in crisis.
As one of the founding board members for this annual fundraiser, Fletcher decided he wanted to participate in the ride in honour of this milestone anniversary and his birthday.
Since then, Fletcher has cycled over 10,000 km in training for the more than 2,000 km of official riding distances he has participated in, and remarkably, he has raised more than $45,000 for various charitable causes over the last five years.
Since 2009, Fletcher has raised funds for the Cops for Kids Ride, Boomer’s Legacy, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the BC Cancer Agency, YANA You Are Not Alone and most recently, the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
For Fletcher, this year’s ride proved to be both challenging and rewarding.
“Despite hitting terrible weather on the Connector and Coquihalla, getting a flat tire in the process and having to cut the ride short on Day One due to unsafe riding conditions, Day Two turned out to be much better as it was a smooth ride from Hope to Tsawwassen,” he said. “What a great surprise to be greeted off the ferry by 20 members of Margaret’s family. It was a great way to cap off the journey.”
Fletcher says that all of his rides have all held a personal connection to him and that although his five year commitment is up, he will likely still end up riding in events as they come up.
“I’m so glad to have been able to fulfill my commitment and more importantly, raise funds for these worthy organizations,” Fletcher said.
“They all have a place close to my heart and I want to thank my family, friends, colleagues at Valley First and my credit union members for their support, both financially and emotionally throughout the years.”
He shares one last piece of advice: “If it moves you, go for it.”
Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.’s third-largest credit union, which has 38 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson regions.