June 20th, 2024

Riding to end impaired driving

By Herald on September 9, 2021.

Christina Hendra, a member of MADD Calgary, crosses the finish line at the Elizabeth Hall Wetlands Wednesday morning following a two-day bike trek from Calgary to Lethbridge for Bike 4 MADD. Herald photo by Dale Woodard

Dale Woodard – Lethbridge Herald

Christina Hendra has never been one to shy away from a challenge.

On Wednesday morning, she arrived in Lethbridge having just completed another challenge, this one coming with a serious message.

Hendra arrived at the Elizabeth Hall Wetlands following a two-day bike ride from Calgary to Lethbridge, completing the new Bike 4 MADD campaign, a combined effort of the MADD Lethbridge & Area and MADD Calgary chapters.

“It’s something I can do. I’m quite extreme as a person,” said Hendra. “I like to do major challenges. Two years ago I went to British Columbia and I did 1,000km. That was in March of 2020, right before the (COVID) virus hit us. It was something I really wanted to do and something I know I can do.”

The two-day ride doubles as a fundraiser with money going to the further education of the consequences of impaired driving as well as delivering a simple message.

“Please do not drink before driving or take drugs,” said Hendra. “Canada is the largest country of the developed world for impaired driving and that really says everything to me. If you’re going to be going out, there’s no excuse to get into a car after you are impaired. There are always so many different options you can use. There’s uber, taxi drivers and so many different options. There’s no excuse. I think it’s one of the worst things in our country today. People are getting injured or killed by impaired drivers and their whole lives are changed forever. The people who have died, their families have to live with that for the rest of their lives. Please don’t do this, we have to stop.”

The Bike 4 MADD campaign also had help from MADD Canada and also Alberta Transportation, said Hendra.

“We had two real stops,” she said. “(One was) in Nanton and also Claresholm. But apart from that I just stopped for a quick drink. I couldn’t have done this without Aaron Libby, who is one of our volunteers at MADD Calgary. He was my strength. He was always behind me or in front of me and he was always stopping and giving me encouragement. So I’ve had a great amount of help from everyone.”

Hendra left Fort Macleod around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday before arriving in Lethbridge just before noon.

“But this is the hardest stretch of the trip because of the wind, although it wasn’t too bad today,” she said.

Hendra said the goal for the Bike 4 MADD campaign is to raise roughly $20,000, adding some of those funds will go toward education.

“We go into schools and we educate children on not driving impaired so when they grow up they’ll hopefully listen to this and understand how tragic it can be.”

Another program, said Hendra, is for the victims and survivors of crashes and for the families who have lost a loved one.

“That’s a scenario where we spend a lot of time focusing on because that’s one of the key areas.”

Awareness is another key part of the campaign.

“We try to lots of marketing, billboard and social media,” said Hendra. “We just try to get people to really get the message and to be aware.”

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