A new fundraising bike ride started in the National Capital Region in June.
Boomer’s Legacy fundraising bike ride started June 9 at Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Leitrim. Boomer’s Legacy is a 100 per cent Canadian charitable foundation that was founded by Maureen Eykelenboom to commemorate the loss of her son, Corporal Andrew “Boomer” Eykelenboom. Eykelenboom, a member of the 1st Field Ambulance, was killed in Afghanistan by a suicide bomber in 2006.
One of the objectives of the foundation is to “help our soldiers help others.” Maureen adds, “It’s also to give support and recognition to those people who lace up their boots and are willing to put their lives on the line to help someone else and to remember our fallen and the price that has been paid throughout the years so that we can enjoy the freedom that we have in Canada.”
So far, funds raised through Boomer’s Legacy have provided life-saving surgeries for injured children, chemotherapy for cancer patients and critical assistance to those in need, wherever soldiers are deployed.
The day began at CFS Leitrim with Maureen Eykelenboom, along with over 20 dedicated riders, including Rear-Admiral Peter Ellis and Deputy Surgeon General Colin MacKay, three volunteer RCMP traffic escorts and many other volunteers and sponsors. The 110-kilometre, eight-and-a-half hour tour started with a ride downtown where Maureen led a ceremony placing roses on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Then riders rode through the challenging Gatineau hills, stopping at Beechwood Cemetery, Canada’s National Cemetery, and finally rode back to CFS Leitrim.
Back at the station participants performed a moving name callout and photograph mounting of 160 Canadian soldiers who have died on duty since 2002. “All in all, it was a day filled with dedication, determination, sadness and grief,” said volunteer Daintry Topshee, “But with exhilaration and joy for what Boomer’s can accomplish and how it brings people together.”
With many more Boomer’s rides scheduled across Canada in the months to come including one in Halifax on Sept. 14 and participation in the hugely popular Ottawa Army Run on Sept. 22, Maureen is confident that Boomer’s Legacy will keep growing and attracting more and more people. “We’re going to be around for a very long time,” she said.