Cycling fundraiser for cerebral palsy emboldens and strengthens those who live with condition, mom says

Hundreds of Winnipeggers signed up to ride stationary bikes in support of Cerebral Palsy Association.

Sarah Yates-Howarth helped organize the stationary bike race. Her daughter has cerebral palsy and is a team captain for the event. Aidan Geary CBC

CBC News Manitoba March 11, 2018

They won’t actually be going anywhere, but hundreds in Winnipeg have signed up for a cycle race Saturday in support of Manitobans with cerebral palsy.

It’s the 29th year in a row people have pedalled in the Cerebral Palsy Stationary Bike Race in Winnipeg, in support of the Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba.

“It’s our 29th year for a race, yes,” said Sarah Yates-Howarth, a race co-ordinator whose 29-year-old daughter, Gemma, has cerebral palsy.

“But it’s even more important than that, because what the race does is it helps parents like me, who have a daughter born [with cerebral palsy], and it’s a gift to have a child,” she said.

“And then you have people saying, ‘Oh, there’s something wrong, there’s something wrong,’ and you can’t work it out. My thought was, when you have a child, you deal with what is.”

Cerebral palsy includes a group of movement disorders. Its symptoms vary among those who have it, but may include trouble with co-ordination, stiff or weak muscles, or problems with sensation, vision, hearing, swallowing or speaking.

The Stationary Bike Race is set to take place at the Wellness Institute on Leila Avenue starting at 9:30 a.m. CBC is a sponsor of the race.

Participants are organized into teams of 14 and go out into the community to fundraise before the event. At the race, riders take turns pedalling for 25 minutes each.

Yates-Howarth said people can ride at whatever pace they like, and it’s open to people of differing abilities, including those with cerebral palsy.

“I think it emboldens them. I think it strengthens them. Some of them are captains of teams, as my daughter is, and that’s a good organizational skill,” she said.

Her own daughter, Gemma, has compounded limbs and uses her foot to communicate, Yates-Howart said. But she earned a university degree in sociology, using a keyboard to spell out each assignment one letter at a time.

2018 Cerebral Palsy Stationary Bike Race. CerebralPalsyMB. Uploaded Youtube on Mar 6, 2018
‘Have to look after ourselves’

Last year, the event raised roughly $233,000.

The money raised all stays in Manitoba, Yates-Howarth said. The association provides things like equipment and scholarships to people with cerebral palsy.

She said the event was started by a member of the association whose son had the condition after the group was formed 40 years ago.

“He was tired of us selling carnations and having garden sales or whatever, because he could see that we were going to have to look after ourselves,” she said.

“We were going to have to help our kids and our young adults be who they wanted to be.”

Source CBC News

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