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Cycling fundraiser in Alliston supports vision loss research

Cycle for Sight takes place in Alliston on Saturday, June 3, 2023. (Credit/Chris Garry) Cycle for Sight takes place in Alliston on Saturday, June 3, 2023. (Credit/Chris Garry)
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Cyclists from around the region will line the roads this weekend to help raise funds and awareness around vision loss.

Cycle for Sight started 15 years ago and is slated to take place in Alliston on Saturday – the same day, June 3, as World Cycle Day.

"It really is about raising funds, raising awareness and raising hope for those affected by vision loss," said Mirja Raita, Cycle for Sight manager.

"There are about eight million Canadians who struggle with vision loss. Three of four cases can be cured if caught early or treated."

The initiative has raised over $6 million nationwide in the past 15 years, with about 5,000 riders participating.

This year's goal is $600,000 – $300,000 is hoped to be raised at the Alliston event. About 200 riders have signed up for the event in Alliston.

"People call it the perfect one-day ride. It's a beautiful ride, albeit it does have its challenges," Raita said.

"So, for everyone, we do have quite a hill that we try to conquer at the end, but novice cyclists all the way to competitive active cyclists are riding."

Raita said the riders have been extremely loyal, with most returning year after year.

"You almost have to be here to feel it. The camaraderie that's shared at Cycle for Sight is why we have about an 80 per cent retention rate," Raita said.

"When people come the first time, they tend to come back, and that's largely due to hope, inspiration and motivation to raise funds for research."

One of those riders is New Tecumseth Ward 4 councillor Alan Masters.

"I think it's a great thing to promote to young people and for the general public," Masters said.

"We're very happy to have Cycle for Sight with us, and I'm also very happy to be participating in it."

Cycle for Sight is an initiative created by Fighting Blindness Canada. More information, including registration and times, is found on the Cycle for Sight website

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