Good Shepherd staff ride for Team Courtney
By: Ian Tennant
| Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 03:48 pm
Even in her short but shining life, Courtney Anderson is still having an impact on students and staff at Good Shepherd School.
And if a collection of Okotoks cyclists has its way, Anderson will continue being a positive role model for students and cancer survivors in the area.
Greg Gibbs, an instructor at Good Shepherd School, has helped organize Team Courtney, a group of riders that will participate in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer on Aug. 9-10.
Anderson was a Grade 3 teacher at Good Shepherd for only a few months before the 24-year-old died in a car crash in British Columbia on Feb. 15. She started in August and immediately hit off with the students and staff at Good Shepherd.
“She had a very big impact on our school,” said Gibbs.
It was only after her death, said Gibbs, that they learned Anderson was a cancer survivor who had participated three times in the Ride to Conquer Cancer in her native Ontario. Anderson was told in March 2007 that she had Hodgkin lymphoma but after treatments she was declared cancer-free.
“So that was part of the inspiration of doing it, knowing that she would have been doing it,” said Gibbs on May 22. On that day at Good Shepherd, Gibbs and members of Team Courtney held a fundraiser at the school in conjunction with a students’ dance.
Team Courtney raised around $650 as team members and students rode stationary bikes in the lobby of the school.
“We had lots of kids giving up their pocket change,” said a grateful Gibbs on May 26.
In addition to Gibbs, who has participated in a couple Ride to Conquer events, Team Courtney consists of Terri Roman, Danielle MacWhirter, Tina Lewis, Claire Comtois, Matthew New from Good Shepherd. They will be joined by Robert Johnson, a friend of Anderson’s from Edmonton.
Gibbs said the team secured the blessing of Anderson’s family, who visited the school recently, before going ahead with their plans.
“They are very excited,” said Gibbs. “They are a super nice family and super supportive.”
People who want to donate can go to www.conquercancer.ca and search for Team Courtney.
Each team member must raise a minimum of $2,500 each in order to be able to participate in the two-day, 225-km ride through the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Gibbs is confident his teammates will reach their individual goals.
So far, Team Courtney collectively has raised more than $13,000.
Although the route for the Ride to Conquer has yet to be announced, last year’s event stopped midway in Okotoks, something Gibbs is hopeful will happen again as another fitting tribute to a talented educator.
Gibbs added team members are excited about “making some good out of a bad situation.”
Money raised for the ride goes to the Alberta Cancer Foundation.