Fourth annual Ryleigh’s Ride in Memory of Johnny includes visit to Manitoulin

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SUDBURY—The fourth annual Ryleigh’s Ride in Memory of Johnny will include 127 motorcycles and 187 riders on their ride which will include a visit to Manitoulin Island. The ride is being held to raise funds for The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, to build a newly renovated hospital.

“Our daughter Ryleigh who is now four years old was born at 29 weeks, weighing two pounds two ounces and she spent the first three months of her life at SickKids in Toronto,” said ride organizer Kerri Chevrier. “She had two surgeries on her little head and defied a pretty scary prognosis. She is a tough little fighter with a contagious smile and big personality. Her dad Johnny (Ms. Chevrier’s late husband) was a biker and he wanted to give back and came up with the idea for this annual rally.”

“Our experience in the neo natal intensive care unit made us appreciate the hard work of the staff, the nurses, the doctors, the surgeons, the specialists, the social workers and the volunteers that dedicate their lives to helping children. We want to give back. We want to raise money so SickKids can build the new and much needed hospital that will continue to help so many children each day,” said Ms. Chevrier.

“Ryleigh’s Ride is in memory of Johnny Valcourt, the most amazing spouse and daddy ever. He passed away in a motorcycle accident May 2, 2021. This event was his dream while he was snuggling Ryleigh in the NICU at SickKids. This ride will now go on in his honour for years to come,” said Ms. Chevrier.

“The care that Ryleigh received at SickKids was absolutely outstanding,” said Ms. Chevrier, who pointed out she also supports the NEO Kids hospital in Sudbury, which Ryleigh goes to as well.

Ryleigh, “needs a paediatric neurosurgery team and paediatric neurology support that is not provided in Sudbury or Northern Ontario hospitals currently. “That is why we have to go to SickKids,” said Ms. Chevrier, noting that Sudbury has come a long way but nowhere in Northern Ontario can Ryleigh get the level of service she needs.”

Ryleigh’s Ride in Memory of Johnny includes the motorcycle ride, silent auction and dinner. “The first year there were 35 bikers and it poured rain all day,” said Ms. Chevrier. “This year we will have 127 bikes and 187 riders and passengers take part.”

Last year $13,500 was raised through the rally and over the three years $20,000 has been raised for  SickKids Hospital. “We would like to raise between $15,000-$20,000 this year,” said Ms. Chevrier. “The SickKids Hospital is trying to raise money for a new hospital to be built with all the necessary new technology and equipment.”

She explained, “we have local bikers attending as well as those from Ottawa, Owen Sound, Windsor, and North Bay.

The event features a motorcycle rally starting from the A&W restaurant which will be providing breakfast to participants on Long Lake Road in Sudbury Saturday morning, with participants stopping for a coffee break in Espanola. Then the bikers will be travelling to Manitoulin Island for lunch. “Orr’s Valu-Mart is incredibly generous in putting on a barbecue lunch for everyone, as they have all four years of the rally,” said Ms. Chevrier. After lunch the bikers will travel back to Sudbury and in the evening a silent auction, dinner and entertainment will be held at the Garson Arena.