One hundred years after thousands of Canadian soldiers were killed or wounded in the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a Red Deer woman will ride 600 km to Vimy with other bicyclists to help raise money to help today’s soldiers and first responders.
Sharon Bath said Friday that she has ridden the Wounded Warriors Canada Battlefield Bike Ride in Europe twice before, in 2014 and 2015, and this year will be special because it’s the centennial of one of Canada’s most famous battles.
Wounded Warriors Canada is a charity that focuses on the mental health — in particular related to post traumatic stress disorder — of Canadian soldiers, first responders and their families.
The organization helps fund the CanPraxis PTSD equine therapy program near Rocky Mountain House. That program helps soldiers and their families.
This year there will be 150 riders in the Battlefields ride, in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday. The ride is fully booked, but people can still sponsor riders. Bath is the only person from Red Deer going on the ride.
She said the ride will take place from June 9 to 17, beginning in Canterbury, England, and ending at Vimy Ridge, France. Riders include veterans, serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces, peace officers and civilians. Bath is a peace officer, who works as a parole officer. She was once a reservist in the Canadian military.
She said she wanted to do something special in this year’s ride because of the Vimy anniversary, and if anyone wants her to do a prayer, or honour a relative connected to Vimy or at any of the war cemeteries, battlefields or memorials along the route, they can contact her. Along the way, the group will pause and commemorate the numerous sites. There are many stops one the route, such as the Passchendaele Canadian Memorial and Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry Memorial.
“When you go to Vimy, the experience, the feeling you get when you’re there, it’s not like any other,” Bath said.
Wounded Warriors Canada also does a fundraising Highway of Heroes ride in Ontario, which, like the Battlefields ride, draws participants from across Canada. The rides are the main source of funding for Wounded Warriors.
Bath can be contacted for more information by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Anyone wanting to sponsor a rider can go online to woundedwarriors.ca