As offbeat as it might sound, about 150 people raced stationary bikes at The Town Centre on Saturday.
The racing part was for fun, with the heart of the event centred on supporting those living with cerebral palsy.
More than $46,000 was raised at the 24th annual Cerebral Palsy Stationary Bike Race, hosted by Westman Cerebral Palsy, with 11 teams of 14 people participating.
About 80 per cent of the funds raised stay in Westman, with the balance going to the local group’s umbrella organization based in Winnipeg, the Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba.
The money goes a long way, said Loraine Cowan, whose 29-year-old son has the movement disorder that has limited his voluntary movements and ability to speak.
The organization has not only helped pay for his specialized wheelchair, but has also offered the Cowan family emotional supports over the years.
Information meetings with other people living with cerebral palsy in their homes has helped by way of advice and support, she said.
"We always try to bring new families in so they can benefit from the experience that we have," Cowan said, adding, "We’re there to help out wherever we can."
Last year saw the local organization fund about $40,000 in equipment upgrades, which can include various pieces of technology that help those living with cerebral palsy, including specialized chairs such as what Bud uses or computers, walkers, special sleds and other such items.
Anything that might help engage the minds of those living with cerebral palsy is a positive, Cowan said, noting that Bud understands everything that’s said to him.
"There’s a very intelligent mind working in there, he has a sense of humour but he can’t tell us about it," she said, adding that anyone will thrive in an environment where they can learn things.
In addition to items for individuals, Westman Cerebral Palsy also contributes toward the purchase and upgrading of public infrastructure, such as playgrounds, to make them more accessible.
Westman Cerebral Palsy chairperson Tom Czerkawski said that he didn’t realize how inaccessible some areas of Brandon were until he noted the barriers his daughter Tia faced with her wheelchair.
For more information about Westman Cerebral Palsy and their umbrella organization, Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba, visit cerebralpalsy.mb.ca.