George McDougall High School’s Ride of the Mustang was awarded the Top Group Fundraiser for an impressive seventh year in a row at the Kids Helping Kids Celebration, held Sept. 1 at Calaway Park.
“Every year we’ve had (Ride of the Mustang) we’ve won the award,” said Kelsey Payne, event organizer.
The annual Ride of the Mustang sees high school students participate in a 48-hour stationary bikeathon to raise money for the Alberta Children’s Hospital. This year the event raised more than $118,000.
Payne said it’s great what the school has accomplished over the years with the event, raising more than $767,000 in its seven-year history.
“It’s all because the city helps support us,” she said. “It’s not just us that raised it. We host the event to raise money, but it’s not just us who does it.”
After learning a classmate had been diagnosed with cancer, students started the Ride of the Mustang to raise money and awareness. After putting together the first event in just six weeks, Ride of the Mustang has evolved into a highly efficient operation.
“After seven years, we’ve gotten pretty good at it,” Payne said.
Garry Bell, the school’s principal, said seeing the event first hand has inspired him.
“I was just blown away by how special this event is,” he said. “And how hard the kids work to make this unique and to raise several thousands of dollars (for) a great cause.”
Working in teams of five, participants sign up for one-hour slots throughout the 48 hours to peddle for the cause. Teachers have also gotten in on the action and formed a team.
The sweat-inducing event isn’t all hard work, though, gaming systems, couches and music are set up for participants to enjoy throughout the event.
“The whole gym is transformed into something quite unique where kids are raising money with their peddling,” Bell said.
He said the award has instilled a sense of pride for students.
“I think the Mustang spirit and part of what makes this school special, is the overwhelming willingness to give back in so many different ways,” he said.