Congratulations to Graham Robertson, who received the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers, presented by The Honourable Judith Guichon, BC’s Lieutenant Governor General on January 5, 2017. The medal recognizes exceptional volunteers from across the country for their “significant, sustained and unpaid contributions to their community.”
Robertson was honoured for his work with the Cycle of Life Tour, a 2-day, nearly 200km group cycling event in support of hospice care all over Vancouver Island, an event he founded in 2011, and organized with his partner Beth until last year. Since its inception, the Cycle of Life Tour has raised more than $365,000 for hospice care on Vancouver Island, $236,000 of which has funded quality end-of-life care at Victoria Hospice.
“I got hooked on fundraising when I shaved my head for pledges in support of a colleague who passed away from cancer in 2010,” says Robertson, a Registered Massage Therapist at Acacia Health and father of two.
“It was incredible how readily people offered their time and energy. At that point, I knew I wanted to do more and I knew how I was going to do it – as a cycling fanatic, I always want to ride my bike.” Robertson just needed a cause.
With no direct link to hospice care, he turned to close friends and family for their advice on where he should give back. “I wanted to support a local charity where I could see the impact of the charity’s work in peoples’ lives,” says Robertson. After hearing heartfelt stories from friends and family about the impact of hospice palliative care, Robertson knew he had found his motivation.
“For such a vital role that Victoria Hospice plays in the community, I was shocked by how little the community knew about its services. This drove me into action and those around me immediately stepped up to help, including Acacia Health, who continues to sponsor the event today.”
In 2016, Victoria Hospice adopted the Cycle of Life Tour, to free up more time for Graham and his growing young family. Along with a crew of dedicated volunteers, sponsors and suppliers, Robertson and family are still very much involved – indeed last year he rode the tour on a tandem bike for the first time. “The riders, sponsors, and all the volunteers keep inspiring me to make a difference,” says Robertson.
Victoria Hospice congratulates Robertson for receiving the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers and thanks him for his leadership, compassion and dedication.
This year, 80 cyclists will ride in the fifth annual Cycle of Life Tour set for July 22-23, 2017. Registration opens February 1st and is sure to sell out. Visit www.cycleoflifetour.ca for more information.