• John Jantak

Wheel-a-thon at St. Patrick elementary raises money for Bearers of Love charity


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Kindergarten students from St. Patrick Elementary School in Pincourt leave the starting line during the second annual wheel-a-thon to raise donations for the Bearers of Love international charity on Friday, June 8.

Kindergarten students from St. Patrick Elementary School in Pincourt put the pedal to the metal and participated in a wheel-a-thon which raised just over $400 for the Bearers of Love international charity on Friday, June 8.

This year’s event was organized by Kristen Bray, a kindergarten teacher who has been at St. Patrick for two years. The wheel-a-thon was started last year by kindergarten teacher Sandra Fisher who now teaches at Clearpoint Elementary School in Pointe-Claire. A simultaneous wheel-a-thon was held at Clearpoint for the first time this year.

The event was first staged at St. Patrick by Fisher in 2017 to help the Bearers of Love, a non-profit humanitarian organization that was founded by retired St. Patrick teacher Mike Nardozza and his wife Sue, a retired nurse who worked at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. The wheel-a-thon raised $600 last year, said Bray.

Helping underprivileged kids

“Mike started the charity to help underprivileged children in the Ukraine by providing medication, supplies and things like that which are greatly needed. He’s a retired teacher. He’s close to our heart because he’s one of us,” Bray told The Journal.

“He goes to the Ukraine every year. We started raising money by doing our wheel-a-thon. Our K’s wheel around the schoolyard and our local community supports us with donations. It’s a very worthwhile cause,” added Bray.

“The kids are excited to get their wheels on. They say ‘I can bring my scooter or my bike.’ Those who can’t bike can bring a stroller to push or a little toy and wheel it around. This event is tied into our theme on transportation and bike safety. The Surété du Québec (SQ) will be coming to do a presentation on road safety as well,” said Bray.

Community support

Parents support the event, said Bray. “Many parents volunteered to help us. They’ll be making bubbles, spritzing students with water bottles to cool them down, and helping them get onto their wheels, which is a big thing,” she said.

Mike Nardozza’s involvement with the charity began in 2002 while he was teaching at St. Patrick. Bearers of Love became a registered non-profit organization in 2007 the year he retired from teaching. Mike and Sue are both grateful for the outpouring of support they’ve continually received.

“The St. Pat’s community over the years have donated about $5,000. I remember my first year in 2002, the principal sent out a newsletter saying one of our teachers was going on a humanitarian trip. The community was amazing. I was getting people at my door giving me items and money to bring to the Ukraine. They didn’t know me but they trusted me,” said Mike.

Aid for people in need

Through their fundraising efforts and donations collected, they’ve provided financial aid for children to receive operations, help orphans and feed the homeless. Mike said he and Sue have dedicated their lives to helping those in need in Dnipro, a city of 1.2 million residents.

“We started going to orphanages to see what they needed, which was mostly toiletries, beds, mattresses, desks and toilets. We saw the need and asked how we could help. We went on to feed the homeless to the point where we’re feeding about 120 to 150 people every day,” said Mike. More information about Bearers of Love is available on their website at www.bearersoflove.org/.

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