Saskatoon man to bike 2,000 km to help get wheelchairs to Ukraine
SASKATOON -- A local organization is counting on one man's pedal power to help them raise money so they can send wheelchairs to those in need overseas.
In just over a week Ivan Nahachewsky sets off to bike 2,000 kilometres around northern Saskatchewan to help raise money for wheelchairs that will be sent to Ukraine.
He approached the local Knights of Columbus chapter with the idea to help raise money for the program that the group has been supporting for 14 years. It is done in conjunction with The Canadian Wheelchair Foundation.
The local group has helped send wheelchairs to children and adults in 13 countries.
This is the longest ride for Nahachewsky who has tackled bike journeys of about half the distance in the past. Training for the 21-day trek involved yoga, endurance training, and mental preparation. Nahachewsky's route starts in Cluff lake in northwest Saskatchewan and is almost entirely on gravel roads which he chose for the challenge of it.
He'll head to Beauval, then Key Lake, down to La Ronge and up to Stony Rapids for the finish.
“Knowing that when I’m done my painful experience, I get to get off my bike and walk away and if they’re in a wheelchair, they don’t get to get up and walk away so that’s a good motivation for me,” Nahachewsky told CTV News.
He’s served as a military chaplain and it was during a recent deployment to Ukraine that he realized the need for wheelchairs for those who have no access or means to get one and are left immobile.
he Knights of Columbus Saskatchewan wheelchair chairperson, Shawn Scherr set the goal of $250,000 for this fundraising campaign which he says, will buy about 1000 chairs at roughly $200 each to be delivered as early as the fall.
“I thought if we go big, we have a chance of getting more than one load so let’s try to get 10 loads to divide in Ukraine so let’s try to go big,” Scherr said.
Scherr was particularly drawn to this project because his daughter who is now 22 has used a wheelchair her whole life.
“The gift of mobility is something that people don’t know what that is. Not to be able to get around or go to work. It’s huge for people that can all of a sudden go to work and get out of the house and get groceries. There’s an independence that comes with mobility,” he said.
Nahachewsky says he’s doing the bike ride during his summer holiday which his wife questioned initially, but came to appreciate.
His daughter is driving him to the starting point in Cuff Lake and will be his pilot vehicle.
Donations can be made online.