By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
A local youth who rode his bike halfway across the province last summer in support of Grandview Children’s Centre is at it again, only bigger and better.
Last August, James Potvin, 10, and his father Chris traveled by bike from Whitby to the nation’s capital Ottawa, raising $10,000 for Grandview Children’s Centre in the process.
The amount was nearly tenfold of their original goal of $1,500.
This summer, the duo is doubling their efforts and hopefully their fundraising return.
The father and son team departed the Whitby pier on Aug. 18 with a final destination of Coney Island in New York City, more than 1,000 kilometres away.
They will also be raising funds for the EJ Autism Foundation, a New York state-based charity.
The Oshawa-based centre has significant importance to the Potvin family.
James has high functioning autism and is on a growing waitlist of more than 3,000 children who are in need of services offered at Grandview.
“Every day, James shows us just what kids with autism can do, and every day we try to challenge James to do a little more. With the whole community cheering him on and a big goal facing him, James is excited and a little nervous as he prepares for his big adventure,” Chris Potvin says of his son. “There are some parallels here as Grandview works toward the big goal of building a new treatment centre. By supporting James, you can help Grandview in bringing smiles to kids from across Durham Region.”
The original trip started at a grassroots level, and as they gained attention from local news outlets and social media, the support began to swell.
James was eventually awarded a Junior Citizen Award by the Ontario Community Newspapers Association for his efforts.
However, his father says that award was also for everybody who has supported them along the way.
“I think what this award speaks to is the way the community is willing to come together for those in need. As much as James really became a face for that and our ride carried that message out, the award is really for the province as a whole for supporting that need,” he previously told the Oshawa Express.
They hope to complete the trip in two weeks.
To see updates, follow their journey on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pg/RideJamesRide and on Twitter and Instagram at #RideJamesRide