Ridin’ with Maddie . . . aka Tour de Madeline

2015 Cross Canada Bike Ride

Who: Rob and Andrew Hood from Kamloops, BC

When: mid May to August 2015

Where: Vancouver, BC to Halifax NS

Why: In honour of Maddie (daughter and sister) and to raise funds for the Maddie Hood Fund

What: Friends from across Canada will join the ride at various points along the way

CLICK HERE to make a donation to the Maddie Hood Fund! Donations will support youth/student work opportunities with charities in the community.

(Maddie) Hood – 1993-2012

Maddie was a courageous young woman who was destined to make the world a better place. Sadly, her life ended on July 7, 2012. Her passion included a deep and enduring love for music, art, animals, and friends and family. To all who knew her she was unforgettable – bright, charming, and generous of spirit – as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside. She was renowned for her wicked sense of humour and infectious laugh.

She worked part time with the United Way in St. Catharines, Ontario as she prepared to begin university in Fall 2012. The work experience offered opportunities to share her many talents and she grew to envision a life helping others, contributing to her community and addressing issues of social justice. The strength of her presence and talent prompted the United Way – St. Catharines and District to establish the Maddie Hood Fund upon word of her death.

Maddie Hood Fund

The Fund was established to honour Maddie’s memory and contribution. Donations amounted to more than $15,000 in less than two months after her death with contributions from the St. Catharines community, and friends and family across Canada and the United States. In response to this generosity, Maddie’s family chose to use the Fund in a manner that acknowledges the value and contribution of her experience working with the United Way.

We honestly believe that the experience enabled Maddie to exercise her values and help create aspirations for her future. She admired the leadership of St. Catharines and District United Way Executive Director Frances Hallworth and envisioned herself in a similar role. While at the United Way, Maddie had the opportunity to help prepare Living in Niagara 2011, a report that highlighted research and trends affecting the region’s vibrancy and quality of life. On her annual trip to spend part of the Christmas season with her dad in British Columbia, she shared a copy of the Report. This example represents the opportunity and experience that inspired Maddie, and what the Maddie Hood Fund will support for other teens/young adults. In 2013, funds were used to support a work opportunity for a student from Maddie’s highschool in St. Catharines. In 2014, funds were used to support a work opportunity for a university student in Kamloops, BC; Maddie’s second home. Both work experiences were created and co-funded by the United Way chapter in each community and the Maddie Hood Fund.

A Legacy in Maddie’s Name

We, Maddie’s family, are further motivated to honour Maddie by sharing her story, and extending the benefits of the Maddie Hood Fund to other youth. This action will benefit us personally in dealing with our loss while giving life to an idea designed to benefit her fellow youth and community. Maddie’s dad and brother, Rob and Andrew, will ride their bicycles from Vancouver, BC to Halifax, NS from mid May to early August 2015. In fact, Rob envisioned such a ride prior to Maddie’s death when he proposed they complete a ride, or some similar adventure, together in future. The year before Maddie’s death Rob met a fellow and his daughter from Victoria, BC who were travelling by bicycle to St. John’s, Newfoundland. They had reached Mission, BC and were deciding on parts of their route as they rode. Rob advised they ride the Fraser Canyon versus the Coquihalla Highway and invited them to call when travelling through Kamloops. Rob received an email months later with a picture of Hugh and his daughter in St. John’s with thanks for the route suggestion and brief description of their journey. Rob forwarded the email to Maddie declaring we would be doing a similar adventure in future.

The 2015 ride will begin in Vancouver and end in Halifax; the city where Maddie was born. The ride is symbolic of Maddie and her dad’s planned adventure together and is therefore titled Ridin’ with Maddie. Details of the ride are being shared with friends across Canada with invitations to join the ride for any part of the journey. Throughout the ride, we will share Maddie’s story and invite donations to the Maddie Hood Fund in support of our desire to co-fund part time work opportunities for youth as described above. The Thompson Nicola Cariboo chapter of the United Way has agreed to accept donations on behalf of the Maddie Hood Fund.

Maddie Hood Fund Beneficiary 2014

Photo credit: Andrew Hood 2014

Maddie Hood Fund beneficiary Michelle Davies (centre) is accompanied by Brenda Aynsley -Executive Director Thompson Nicola Cariboo United Way and Rob Hood, Maddie’s dad. Michelle who is studying event management at TRU expressed many thanks for the opportunity to work with the United Way office in Kamloops in a position that was co-funded by the United Way and the Maddie Hood Fund.

“Because of the Maddie Hood fund, I was given the opportunity to work with the exceptional team at United Way TNC where I learned what it means to work tirelessly toward bettering our community, how to work as team with plenty of support and guidance, and develop confidence and skills that will help me succeed in building my future.” – Michelle Davies

“I like to think the United Way and the Maddie Hood Fund have had a role to play in charting her path as she colours her own canvas. Michelle was challenged to make decisions on the fly, manage a number of conflicting projects/issues, and work with a very diverse group of people. Along with her confidence, curiosity and genuine good will she brought a fresh perspective to our staff team that we miss. . . . I am confident that Maddie’s spirit has been honored and we thank Rob and the Hood Family for this generous life changing gift. With heartfelt thanks Rob,” – Brenda Aynsley

CLICK HERE to make a donation to The Maddie Hood Fund. Donations will support youth/student work opportunities with charities in the community!