Friends and family of the late Denis Muloin were joined by a large group of people— and they all brought their bikes for a leisurely ride from Lochside Park in Saanich, to the Saanich Peninsula on Sunday.
In addition to those bikes, people brought a strong, happy spirit — and money.
The fourth annual Denis Muloin Memorial Ride for Palliative Care raised in excess of $10,000 for the palliative care unit at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital — where Denis spent his final days, fighting cancer, until his death in April 2014.
Longtime friend David Diedricksen calls Denis one of his brothers — one of the guys with whom he enjoyed mountain biking. They had actually attended Parkland Secondary School in North Saanich together, he said, but didn’t know each other well then. The friendship came later.
“I got into mountain biking in the mid-1980s and I got to know Denis, who was working at Russ Hays,” Diedriksen said, adding they would join other riders and go on annual trips.
Races would later turn into family-based rides, until Denis was diagnosed with cancer. Diedricksen said doctors at the time gave his friend three years — but he outlasted that prediction by six years. The care he received at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital’s palliative care unit was so impressive, that his parents Doreen and Maurice, decided that the best way to remember their son was to hold an annual fun ride and fundraiser. This year’s ride saw them joined by Denis’ children, in-laws and so many friends and others who wanted to support the cause.
Megan Elder, Denis daughter-in-law was there with her son Quinn, 3, donning helmets and getting ready for a bike ride along the Lochside Regional Trail. Russ Hays Bike Shop – where Denis used to work – lent its support to the ride, as did the Muloin Family, Telus and Peggy Yelland — who donated the prize for the top fundraiser: a trip to the Black Rock Resort in Ucluelet. The event is a fun ride — so people can go as far or as short as they like, enjoying sights and activities along the way.
Karen Morgan, Executive Director of the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation, announced on Monday that the fundraising had topped the $10,000 mark, surpassing the goal of this year’s ride. The money will be used to freshen up the palliative care unit, ensuring it remains a comforting place where families can join their loved ones in the final stages of life.
“This is a new high water mark for this event,” Morgan said. “An event like this is so life-affirming and honours the memory of someone who spent time in palliative care.”