Volunteer Spotlight – Rotary Clubs of Guelph South and Guelph Trillium

Almost six years ago now, GGH Foundation Board member Terry Manning undertook a 50-day cycling trip that raised $33,000 for the Hospital. It was an amazing personal initiative. Guelph Rotarian David Parr was much inspired by Terry’s idea, and working with him, proposed the concept of a large-scale local cycling event for the Foundation. Along with his fellow Rotarian Paul Moran, David brought in the Rotary Club of Guelph South, which recruited the Rotary Club of Guelph Trillium, and the Tour de Guelph was born!

Today, the Tour de Guelph (TDG) is an annual event in support of Guelph General Hospital and local Rotary projects. In its six years of fundraising, it has raised over $400,000 for the community and has grown to be one of Guelph-Wellington’s largest community sporting events.

What’s most impressive though, is that the event is nearly entirely planned, coordinated and run by volunteers. Each year over 100 volunteers do their part to ensure the success of the event. The majority of them are Rotarians. The event also attracts individual members of the community to help on the day of the ride, and businesses which volunteer their staff skill and expertise.

Proceeds from Tour de Guelph are shared by the Hospital and the two Rotary clubs. Over the years, the Hospital contributions have helped fund interventional radiology equipment, IV pumps, an ultrasound machine, respiratory ventilators, CT Scanner and, this year, a Centralized Cardiac Monitoring System. Rotary funds have been distributed to dozens of deserving community organizations and programs throughout Guelph and Wellington County.

This year’s TdG was a spectacular day with perfect weather. Over 750 registered riders and a host of sponsor partners raised over $125,000! Co-chairs Brian Cowan of Guelph South Rotary Club and Norm Litchfield of Guelph Trillium Rotary Club were thrilled

“We’re so proud of this event and what our organizing committee has been able to accomplish for our community over the past six years” says Litchfield. “Tour de Guelph has enabled our club to support many local and essential programs and to raise significant funds for Guelph General. It’s an active event— a fun event— that raises funds for important causes, at the same time providing a showcase for our community spirit.”

“Tour de Guelph’s impact is wide,” adds Cowan, “This year, many local groups aimed at youth development, family support, and community building will be supported through Rotary’s participation in this incredible event. It attracts people to Guelph and demonstrates who we are. Rotarians love to work with other organizations on common purposes, and this event is an excellent example of that teamwork. The Hospital is so important: it is the one local organization that touches all stages of life, all members of the community — a resource available to all.”

Suzanne Bone, CEO, The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital, is unreserved in her praise for the two Rotary clubs. “We’re so grateful for our partnership. We simply wouldn’t have the people-power to do it without them.”

Two of the long-time Rotary volunteers at TdG were asked about what is so special about working on the event. Russ Powell, managing the event signage, answered, “We raise funds for equipment that will help our medical professionals make the best decisions.” Celia Clark, organizing the registration volunteers, put it another way, “We Rotarians love to be involved with so many great people who come together as strangers, work together as friends, raise money for the community, and have fun doing it.” Right on, Celia! Or should we say, Ride on!