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Schomberg cyclist raising thousands annually to conquer cancer

April 27, 2016   ·   0 Comments

By Jake Courtepatte
As an eight-year participant of the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, Jason Ortepi has seen some amazing sights.
Ortepi recalls seeing one female participant some years that stands out from the crowd – she had only one leg and rode a specially-made tricycle.
“She’s got a motor to help her get over the hills, but I’ve seen her pedal. It’s amazing what you see.”
It’s that sort of level of commitment that has Ortepi coming back year after year, managing to raise thousands of dollars for the cause through donations to his ride and his annual May garage sale.
The father of two from Schomberg has managed to raise over $20,000 for the Ride to Conquer Cancer since 2008, and is looking to push that number higher and higher. Last year alone, he brought in approximately $3,000.
It begins every year with the sale on May 7, tentatively planned for his address at 38 Church Street, depending on construction in the Main Street/Church Street intersection area.
Raising over $1,000 towards his cause with the 2015 sale, up for grabs this year will be everything from tools, to sports equipment, and even baked goods courtesy of his kids.
“People are really generous every year,” said Ortepi. “… we’ve had a lot of friends and family drop off stuff that their kids used, I think last year we had six bicycles sitting out front.”
Ortepi credits the sale’s success to the cause of the event.
“Everyone is always willing to throw in a couple bucks for charity. People really come together for it.”
He wishes to remind Schomberg residents to look out for signage in the coming weeks around town.
As for the Ride itself, Ortepi will once again be cycling over two-hundred kilometres from Toronto through the Niagara Falls and Hamilton area this summer.
Now with roots in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec, the June event is looking to grow the staggering $119 million raised in its history, making the event Canada’s largest cycling fundraiser. Funds raised go to the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.
“Everyone knows someone with cancer, whether it be a family member or a friend with cancer, so they are more than willing to support me each year,” said Ortepi, who has an uncle battling the disease. “It makes it more important to keep going.”
As for riding the epic journey, Ortepi claims his once-a-week hockey during the winter doesn’t cut it yet for training. With the weather improving, he plans on getting back on the bike with some 25-km rides for the first few weeks, before moving up to 50-km and eventually a few 100-km-plus rides shortly before the event.
“Everybody stops and takes breaks, it’s not a race. Some guys like to ride fast, some like to ride slow, but everyone’s there for the same thing.”
Those interested in the Ride can visit www.conquercancer.ca, or call 1-877-699-BIKE (2453).
To find out more about Jason’s ride, or to make a donation, check out http://www.conquercancer.ca/goto/jasonortepi2016. Readers can also see Ortepi’s history of the event at http://saddleboys.weebly.com.

         

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