Ella MacDonald

Bike tour raises funds for youth sports

Three Summerlanders are cycling along the Pacific coast to Mexico in an attempt to raise money to promote youth sports.

Three Summerlanders are cycling along the Pacific coast to Mexico in an attempt to raise money to promote youth sports.

Ella MacDonald, 20, her sister Sandra MacDonald, 24 and Gerry Hol, 20, hope to raise $15,000 during the 4,000-kilometre tour.

The trip began in late September when the three started their trip in Bellingham, Wash. The route will take them south to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

The three are raising money for Right To Play, a global organization using sports and games to help children build life skills and better futures, while promoting social changes in their communities.

Sports has been important for the three cyclists.

Sandra MacDonald took a break from academics after high school to focus on competitive skiing.

She was on the B.C. Ski Team and has raced on the international North American Cup circuit. After that season was over, she accepted an athletic scholarship to the University of Alaska Anchorage. In May, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biology.

Ella MacDonald has attended two years at the University of British Columbia in the undergraduate science program. She is planning to switch to a registered nursing program. Her sports involvement has included soccer, volleyball and recreational skiing. She also enjoys surfing, sailing and windsurfing.

Hol is an avid hockey player and played for the Summerland Steam Junior B hockey team last year. He attended the University of British Columbia Okanagan in the kinesiology program but is changing to the marine engineering program next fall.

The plans for the cycle trip began in December, 2012, when Ella MacDonald was discussing the idea with her older sister.

“For the past two years, I kept talking about travelling, but I always went back to school,” she recalled.

When she suggested the plan, Sandra MacDonald agreed to join her. As they began to prepare for the ride, Hol joined their team.

The three of them believe in Right To Play’s purpose.

“We have gained so much from sports that we would like to give back as much as we can to those in underprivileged communities,” Ella MacDonald said.

The three are now in Oregon. At the end of September, they had to take some time off from cycling because of the rough weather they had encountered. The trip is expected to take up to three months.

Information about the trip and a link to their blog can be found online at macdonaldsisters.wordpress.com.