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Sonny Spina has a long ride ahead of him this spring

Local police constable pledges to bike nearly 300 kilometres for United Way fundraiser
Sault Ste. Marie Police Service Constable Sonny Spina will be cycling 283 km over two days as part of the United Way's 'Pedals for Possibilities' campaign. James Hopkin/SooToday

A new fundraising campaign announced by United Way Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District will see Sault Police Constable Sonny Spina, who wears badge number 283, cycle 283 kilometres over two days in an effort to raise $283,000.

The “Pedals for Possibilities” campaign was officially launched Friday morning at the Water Tower Inn, with Spina appropriately biking into the launch event with a group of fellow cyclists.

Spina is already gearing up for the two-day event, which takes place May 16-17.

“I have a lot of indoor cycling equipment that I’m training on all winter long, and really, I get a ton of encouragement from my family and my wife,” said Spina. “If I’m not on the rider, she’s telling me to get on it and get training, so you know, it helps keep me motivated.”

Day one of the event will see Spina cycle and participate in events in Wawa and Elliot Lake, while day two will take place in Sault Ste. Marie, where he’ll cycle a total of 95 kilometres with stops at all local schools.

“Reaching out to the youth in our community is a huge component of this event,” Spina said. “We really want to impress upon the youth in our community the need for them to give back to our community, and the need for them to invest in programs that can help everyone in our community, and we want to lead by example and show them how to do it.”

Brianne Veale, fundraising manager for United Way Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District, said that $26,830 has already been donated by campaign sponsors.

10 schools will also receive a ‘Winmar Youth Engagement Grant’ of $283 to create a United Way-inspired community project.

Veale says there are numerous sponsorship opportunities for businesses, while schools are encouraged to raise funds and engage their students.  

“There’s actually 38 kilometres that are designated just for other people to join in on the ride,” said Veale. “If they’re able to pledge a minimum of $200, whether it’s on their own, from their families, their friends or their coworkers, we’re able to raise even more money and they’re able to join Sonny along the ride.”

Spina, meanwhile, says that he and the United Way wanted to do something different in order to bolster fundraising efforts throughout the Algoma District.

“Sault Ste. Marie has a tremendous cycling community, a huge amount of people that like to come out and cycle on a daily basis, and it’s not something that’s ever been done here in town before,” said Spina. “It’s something that we think is going to generate a lot of excitement, and a lot of involvement from our community.”

The newly launched website for the campaign is now up and running for more information on how to take part.