A Red Deer woman will be riding her bicycle today along a special highway in Ontario to help raise funds for ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans.
Sharon Bath will travel along the Highway of Heroes with 100 other riders from across Canada for the two-day 220-km inaugural Bike for Wounded Warriors trek.
A portion of Hwy 401 in Ontario was designated the Highway of Heroes in 2007 when it became the road travelled by funeral convoys bringing fallen Canadian Forces personnel from CFB Trenton to the coroner’s office in Toronto.
Wounded Warriors Canada’s stated mission is to honour and support ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces members, veterans, as well as first responders and their families.
Bath, 49, is the only Albertan in the ride and, as she proudly puts it, the only Indo-Canadian. She said she has a special place in her heart for those who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
She has worked 20 years with Correction Service Canada and is a parole officer at Bowden Institution. She was in the army for three years before that and Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan touched home for her.
“You could say I understand PTSD and how it affects people. I just want to help, give something back.”
Bike riding isn’t Bath’s forte but it didn’t stop her from going on two other Wounded Warrior fundraising rides for hundreds of kilometres in Europe through historic battlefields and cemeteries where Canadian soldiers fought and are buried. She did these Battlefield Bike Rides in 2014 and 2015.
Bath said it was always her dream to pay her respects at Vimy Ridge, and the idea of riding a bike and raising money at the same time caught her attention.
“It’s close to my heart.”
When she heard about the ride in 2014, she never hesitated and signed up, barely training on her bike, but riding the 750 km. And this year she had almost no training at all for the Highway of Heroes ride because of inclement weather in Alberta.
Bath has played soccer all her life, is a soccer referee. “I’m not an avid bike rider. … Your butt gets really sore.”
Next June the Battlefield Bike Ride is from London to Belgium and back to Vimy Ridge (600 kms) to mark the 100th anniversary of the Canadian victory. It’s open to all Canadians, and Bath expects to raise funds and participate.
She has raised almost $1,000 for the Wounded Warriors Highway of Heroes Bike Ride. Donations can still be made to individual riders through the Wounded Warriors website, which is woundedwarriors.ca