Local woman organizes 50km ride for friend
Andrea Williams of Innisfail decided to act on the disheartening news her close friends had received when told their third child of four, Sophia Jorja Marie Ricci was recently put on the waiting list for a double heart and lung transplant to treat her Primary Pulmonary Hypertension. Williams, along with some 20 odd others will be cycling a 50 km route on May 5, starting and finishing at Centennial Park in Innisfail from 10am-3pm, raising funds for the family.
Sophia, of Fort McMurray, has been living with the condition since first diagnosed at eight months old. She was given a three year life expectancy which she has just recently overcome in the past three months. Sophia will turn four in August.
"There wasn’t enough love and prayer that I could send their way, I felt useless," said Williams.
Having children close to the same age herself, she identified with the situation her dear friends were put in and decided to do all she could.
"I started running last year and really enjoy it but figured it wouldn’t generate as much fundraising as 50 km biking," said Williams.
The route will follow 50th street to highway 54, past 781 for Sylvan and follow the highway to the 25 km mark-just before Markerville.
"Ideally my goal to raise personally is $5,000."
The money will help the family, who are planning to relocate to Edmonton to be closer to the Stollery Children's Hospital. As well, the parents will take time off work to care for their daughter.
On May 5 after the ride, there will be a barbeque for the hungry cyclists as well as anyone out to support the cause.
"The event spread faster than I thought and it's been great to see it progress." Williams enthused.
Any antsy cyclists ready to break out their rubber for spring, are asked to call Williams at 403-227-2404.
Donations going directly to the family can be made at any Scotia Bank using account #60319 03472 21 or call Andrea. Edmonton Pulmonary Hypertension Society will also have a booth at the fundraiser on May 5 where information will be available and donations can be made as well.