Cycling for Strong Kids

YMCA Canada


Don Patterson—a father, grandfather, YMCA volunteer and avid cyclist—believes in ensuring that all kids have the same access to the YMCA that his children had while growing up.

In 2012, he turned that belief into action, organizing a 7,232-km fundraising bike ride across Canada! In preparing for his month-long journey from Vancouver to St. John’s, Don connected with YMCAs across the country to help them create fundraising opportunities for their YMCA Strong Kids campaigns, raising thousands of dollars along the way and helping YMCAs to continue to provide opportunities for children, teens and young adults to participate in Y programs and be active participants in their communities.

In 2015, Don set out again, this time planning to travel 7,000 km from north to south, stating at Inuvik Northwest Territories and ending at Canada’s southernmost spot, Point Pelee, Ontario. While his ride was cut short due to a serious accident, Patterson has recovered, and his goals around promoting the importance of physical activity for children and youth, particularly Aboriginal children, have been achieved.

Says Don, “I have three children who basically grew up at the Y, and now we have four grandchildren too. My family benefited much from YMCA programs to stay healthy and happy. Every kid deserves a chance to play sports, get active, and make friends. The YMCA is making this possible. It’s the surest way to keep children healthy.”