The Autism Awareness Ride raised $42,000 net at their first-ever motorcycle poker derby last Saturday.
The event took roughly 160 participants from St.Amant’s head office on River Road to stops in Morris, Morden and Carman before returning to the final stop at Fort Garry Brewing Company for a BBQ, live entertainment and incredible raffle.
“We wanted to give something back to our community as a thank you from our family for supporting us through the diagnosis of autism and as we journey with our son,” said Laurent Chapdelaine, who organized the event with his wife Allison and their friends and family.
“Our goal was to raise awareness and hopefully about $5,000 for a cause that helps people with autism. So, the community response; from sponsorship and donations to this weekend’s participation really blew us away,” said Chapdelaine.
Chapdelaine, who is an avid motorcyclist, came up with this idea while on a ride with friends last year. Having participated in charity rides, he thought he would like to rally his community to give back to other families on the autism journey. All proceeds from the event will support St.Amant Leisure Guide activities for kids and adults on the autism spectrum.
“The passion and dedication that Laurent and Allison put into making this event a success is a testament to their love and dedication to their son Wyatt,” said Juliette Mucha, Director of St.Amant Foundation.
“We are so grateful they chose St.Amant as their charity partner. We’ll ensure that all of the funds raised are used to help people with autism participate in recreation and leisure activities that are tailored in a way to make them feel comfortable and that encourages connection to others and new friendships.”
Riders had all kinds of reasons for supporting the event, from a personal connection to the family, a connection to the cause or just because they love to ride. The consensus at the end was that the event was one of the best around, and for a first-time event, that is high praise!
“The Autism Awareness Ride held this past Saturday was an incredible experience. It was mind-blowing to see the motorcycle community rally in their generosity and support of such a worthwhile cause. The event was well organized and well attended and really make us proud to be a part of this community,” said Joe Kresnyak, participant and pledge collector.
Joe Kresenyak (left), pledge collector and participant, and Laurent Chapdelaine, event organizer, at St.Amant's head office before the motorcycle ride departed.