72 Snowmobilers Ride a 4,000-Mile Trek Through Sub-Zero Climates in 20 Days
MichCanSka 2010 Benefits the Diabetes Research Institute
(February 25, 2010) – The Winter Olympics aren’t the only snowy weather events taking the spotlight in Canada right now. MichCanSka 2010 is an international snowmobiling charity ride from Michigan to Alaska (through Canada) that benefits the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI), a world leader in cure-focused diabetes research. Participants from several states started out on February 15th with a ceremonious ride around the famous Soo I-500 snowmobiling track in Sault Ste. Marie, MI, and will finish in Tok, AK, after 20 days.
To date, the effort has raised more than $40,000 for the DRI, and onlookers continue to hand in donations as the snowmobilers ride near their towns. Billed as the “Iditarod of Snowmobiling,” the event is the brainchild of Bill Bradfield of Cadillac, MI, a retired sheet metal worker and Vietnam veteran who has type 2 diabetes.
“It is my passion of a lifetime to ride from Sault Ste. Marie, MI, 4000 miles on a snowmobile through the dead of winter to Tok, AK, to raise awareness of the need for future research for this dreaded disease,” said Bradfield, who has been snowmobiling for 41 years. Throughout his career with the Building and Construction Trades Department (AFL-CIO), Bradfield has been raising funds and awareness for the Diabetes Research Institute.
“It gave me a tremendous feeling of gratitude being able to help people less fortunate than myself, not knowing that someday I too would be stricken with this horrible disease,” he said.
Some participants have diabetes. Others are riding in honor or in memory of a loved one with diabetes. All riders are in it for the thrill-seeking adventure of a lifetime. Maintaining a distance of 200 miles per day, participants set out in three groups each a day apart. Their travels are being documented and videotaped daily at MichCanSka.com. Their snowmobiles will carry them across rugged terrain and spectacular landmarks, such as the Trans Canada Trail, the Yukon Territory, and the original gold rush mining town of Dawson City, plus a grand finale of riding across the Top of the World Highway in Alaska.
On Day 10, Group 1 was riding through Saskatchewan, Canada, and “searching for snow at this point,” according to a blog post. They are expected to reach their final destination in Tok, AK, on March 7 (subject to change), where there will be a presentation to local officials in celebration of this great adventure, funds raised and sights seen. Those who are interested in supporting the Diabetes Research Institute through MichCanSka 2010 can make a secure donation online at http://www.firstgiving.com/michcanskadri.