Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

February 02, 2007

U of G Team Tops at Wheels In Motion, Proceeds To Help Community

The University of Guelph’s Health and Performance Centre (HPC) team was the top fund-raising group in Canada at the Guelph 2006 Wheels in Motion, it was recently learned.

“Quality of Life” funding raised by that team and others during the annual national event sponsored by the Rick Hansen Foundation is now available to assist people with spinal cord injuries who live or work in the Guelph area.

“It was very rewarding to learn that our team raised the most money of any group in the country,” said Cyndy McLean, director of the HPC and captain of the team that raised nearly $12,000. A former marathon runner and elite-level athlete, McLean was left paraplegic after a fall in 2003. She is a member of the local event organizing committee and is a national ambassador for the Rick Hansen Foundation.

As a prize, the HPC team won five round-trip tickets from Air Canada, which were awarded to the team’s top fund raisers. “But even more rewarding is the fact that a significant portion of the money we raised will stay right here in Guelph to help address high-priority needs and provide services in the community,” McLean said.

The Guelph Wheels in Motion, held last June at U of G, raised nearly $30,000 and set a new local record. About half of the money goes to support national research efforts overseen by the Rick Hansen Foundation, and the remaining funds stay in the host community.

The portion that remains in Guelph will go directly to local residents who have spinal cord injuries to be used to help improve their quality of life by providing services, assistance and resources, McLean says.

People with spinal cord injuries or their families are being invited to apply for Quality of Life funding. It may be used to address personal needs, support a recreation or sports initiative, or to help provide services, assistance or resources.

To help support as many applications as possible, there is a maximum of $800 per application. The deadline to apply for funds is March 1, 2007. For an application or for more information, contact Mairin Viol, a member of the Guelph Wheels in Motion organizing committee, at 519-716-1320 or by email, The applications are reviewed by a committee.

Nearly 200 people participated in or volunteered at the Guelph Wheels in Motion event, which was held on campus at the Athletics Centre. Similar events are held in communities across Canada. People obtain pledges individually or as part of a team and then wheel, bike, skate, run or walk a 2.5-kilometre course.

The annual fundraiser was initiated by Rick Hansen, the Canadian Olympic wheelchair marathon champion who wheeled 40,000 kilometres to raise money and awareness for spinal cord research.

The 2007 event will be held June 10 at U of G (registration at 11am, event kickoff at noon). This year, in addition to a wheel/walk/run, new team events have been added, including a wheelchair challenge where participants compete against other teams at completing everyday tasks from a wheelchair.

U of G president Alastair Summerlee has agreed to serve as honourary chair of the Guelph 2007 event.

For more information on the Wheels in Motion, email McLean at

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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